Public advisory # 9 - ODPM urges citizens to remain vigilant

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) wishes to advise all persons, especially those residing or traversing low-lying areas in southern Trinidad to be extra vigilant and to take the necessary actions to preserve life and property in light of the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services’ (TTMS) Riverine Flood Alert #4 and Adverse Weather Alert #1.
Persons should monitor weather conditions as well as river levels and avoid intentionally wading or driving through flood waters.
 
TTMS has issued a Riverine Flood Alert #4 – Orange Level for parts of southern Trinidad for the period Sunday 18th November, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. to Tuesday 20th November, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.
 
Orange level means that you should prepare to safeguard yourself and your property.
 
The TTMS has advised that water levels are generally on the decrease. However, additional rainfall overnight and tomorrow (Monday 19th November, 2018) may exacerbate the current situation, especially in areas still experiencing some level of flooding.
 
An Adverse Weather Alert #1 – Yellow Level has also been issued by TTMS, for mainly southern areas of Trinidad for the period Monday 19th November, 2018 from 3:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Yellow level means that there is the potential for negative impacts. However, damage can be avoided if persons take the necessary precautions to preserve life and property.
 
The TTMS has advised that there is a 70 percent (%) chance of heavy showers and thunderstorms occurring at times during the period. Street/flash flooding, landslips and gusty
winds are possible near heavy showers and thunderstorms. This rainfall event may be especially impactful for areas that are currently experiencing some level of flooding. For further information on the alerts issued by the TTMS visit http://www.metoffice.gov.tt/early_warning.
 
The ODPM continues to monitor the current flooding situation and remains in contact with the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government (MORDLG), the Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT), and other support agencies to ensure immediate assistance can be rendered if called upon. The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) and the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service (TTFS) have been supporting response activities throughout the weekend in flooded communities. All first responders and support agencies are on high alert and will continue to support those persons affected by the ongoing flooding.
 
As flood waters subside in affected communities damage assessments will continue by the MORDLG and the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS).
The MSDFS has advised that all persons who have been impacted by the adverse weather should keep evidence of their damaged items, as this is necessary for the effective distribution of grants. Damaged appliances and items should be placed in a secure location in your home or outside on your compound.
 
The ODPM would like residents and visitors to ‘Get Ready and Stay Ready’ by implementing the following safety measures:
1. Place sandbags around your property;
2. Cover internal drainage holes with sandbags, e.g. toilet, shower, bath and floor drains to stop backflow of flood waters;
3. Move valuables to higher ground if possible;
4. Lift curtains, rugs and bedding, and remove items from low cupboards, especially if your area or property has a history of flooding;
5. After heavy rainfall, stay inside until water levels have subsided;
6. Do not wade, play or drive through flood waters of unknown depth and current;
7. If you must wade through a flood, use a stick to determine the firmness of the ground, as well as the depth of the water around you;
8. Wear personal protective equipment, including rubber boots, rubber gloves and goggles during clean-up of affected areas. Wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeves and full-length pants;
9. Keep children and pets out of the affected area until clean-up has been completed;
10. Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces (such as flooring, concrete, moulding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks and other plumbing fixtures) with hot water and household bleach solution;
11. After completing the clean-up, wash your hands properly with soap and clean water;
12. Wash all clothes worn during the clean-up in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
If impacted by the adverse weather, please contact your Municipal Corporation or the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) through its toll-free hotline numbers.
 
Citizens should continue to monitor the website and social media profiles of the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service and the ODPM for weather forecasts, alerts, warnings and cancellations. Visit www.metoffice.gov.tt or wwww.odpm.gov.tt.
WE WISH TO UNDERSCORE THAT TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO IS NOT CURRENTLY UNDER ANY TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE THREAT, WATCH OR WARNING.
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