Schools and busi­ness­es re­mained closed and scores of peo­ple could not get to work as ris­ing flood­wa­ters, ex­ac­er­bat­ed by high tide, trig­gered mas­sive flood­ing in 22 ar­eas across South Trinidad yes­ter­day.

Among the schools closed were Shi­va Boys Col­lege, Debe Hin­du School, Bar­rack­pore East, and West Sec­ondary and Ra­mai Trace Hin­du School.

The floods cov­ered most of Clarke Road, Pe­nal Rock Road, Der­rick Road, Lal­be­har­ry Trace, Pa­pourie Road, Low­er Bar­rack­pore, Has­sanali Trace, Clarke Road, Kat­wa­roo Trace, Dig­i­ty Trace, Batchya, Lal­too Trace, Mo­hess Road, Ramd­har­ry Trace, Ali Av­enue and Com­mu­ni­ty Street in Pe­nal.

Late yes­ter­day, Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Kaz­im Ho­sein said the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Units of the Cor­po­ra­tion were ac­ti­vat­ed and over 600 Com­mu­ni­ty Emer­gency Re­sponse Team (CERT) vol­un­teers, trained this year, were on stand­by to as­sist in their com­mu­ni­ties.

At Lal­be­har­ry Trace, live­stock farmer Nathaniel Mun­gal was once again count­ing his loss­es. All the pro­duce in his mar­ket stall had washed away, along with four pigs and ducks and chick­ens.

"The yam gone, the dasheen gone. The doors gone, ducks and all the young goats in wa­ter, the hogs drown­ing. I bring up the cat­tle and now I come to see how much of the 100 plus ducks in that cage there. The com­mon fowl in the wa­ter now. I don't know how many of them will die," he said.

Mun­gal said every time it rains and floods, he gets cov­er­age in the me­dia but not a sin­gle cent is giv­en to him by the Min­istry to get back on his feet.

"Its re­al loss­es I suf­fer over the years. They need to do some­thing about the drainage," he said.

At Boodoo's chick­en de­pot, caged chick­ens drowned.

A work­er said, "Right now we have four feet of wa­ter in here. We can­not sell and we have to se­cure the chick­ens. We can­not say for sure yet how many drowned."

At Quar­ry Road, Siparia the Tu­na­co Riv­er burst its banks, caus­ing res­i­dents of An­toine Trace to be ma­rooned. Lyn­don Ra­jku­mar and his moth­er Grace said they could on­ly watch in hor­ror as their ap­pli­ances float­ed away.

Ra­jku­mar said, "Right now we stand­ing in waist height wa­ter. The deep freeze float­ing," he said.

Chair­man of the Pe­nal/Debe Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion Dr Allen Sam­my said the floods were caused by eight hours of con­tin­u­ous rain­fall.

Al­though the rivers un­der the PDRC have been cleaned, Sam­my said the sev­en wa­ter­cours­es which fall un­der the Min­istry of Works have been dredged par­tial­ly.

"What we need is for these rivers to be cleaned in their en­tire­ty," he said. Sam­my not­ed that sand­bags had been dis­trib­uted ear­li­er in the year and res­i­dents were able to pre­pare for the floods in some ar­eas.

Mean­while, chair­man of the Princes Town Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion Gowrie Roop­nar­ine said he was fear­ful that if the flood­wa­ters con­tin­ued to rise "it will not be good for the area. It will be a mi­ni-dis­as­ter. We have arrange­ments to bring them."

Roop­nar­ine said sev­er­al ar­eas, Hard­bar­gain, Williamsville, part of Bar­rack­pore, had flood­ed as well as the M1 Ring Road.

"We have food­stuff, mat­tress­es, and tar­pau­lins. If this flood con­tin­ues in the Bar­rack­pore area it will be a few hun­dred peo­ple who will be af­fect­ed," he said.

Roop­nar­ine said ad-hoc de­vel­op­ment was a con­trib­u­to­ry fac­tor for the floods. He said in the Bar­rack­pore dis­trict, there were a few de­vel­op­ers who still man­aged to get au­tho­riza­tion for de­vel­op­ment from Town and Coun­try Plan­ning even though it was not ap­proved by the Cor­po­ra­tion.

Mean­while, Min­is­ter Ho­sein said Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Units have be­gun dis­trib­ut­ing sand­bags and pro­vid­ing first re­sponse as­sis­tance to all af­fect­ed cit­i­zens.

"Present­ly, Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment of­fi­cials are re­spond­ing to re­ports of blown-off roofs and as­sist­ing to clear fall­en trees in an ef­fort to en­sure that all routes re­main ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic.

Shel­ter man­agers have been alert­ed and shel­ters will be ac­ti­vat­ed as the need aris­es," he added.