Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago: Emergency task force stand down OPS

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) formerly NEMA stood down its Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) today after it met for the last time this morning.
The EOC was activated when it was determined that Tropical Storm Emily was approaching Trinidad and Tobago and emergency mechanisms had to be alerted for appropriate action.

At the meeting, which was chaired by the Pro Tem Director, ODPM, Dr Myron Chin, members of the Task Force gave a status of operations in areas that were affected by the passing of Tropical Storm Emily.

The EOC comprises the Ministries of National Security, Social Development, Local Government, Health, Education, Works and Transport, Public Utilities and the Environment, Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross, the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, the Meteorological Office, and the Government Information Service.

EOC members reported the following:

1. Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (DANA) of areas affected by Tropical Storm Emily are 85% completed. Teams from the Regional Corporations, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Utilities and the Environment, Fire Service, Ministry of Social Development and the Defence Force begun visiting affected families (in Trinidad and Tobago) over the weekend to quickly expedite assistance.

2. The results of DANA determined the distribution of food hampers to affected families. The Red Cross, SHARE and the Tunapuna Regional Corporation distributed food hampers over the weekend and will continue to do so based on the findings of DANA.

3. Several persons who were affected by Tropical Storm Emily requested assistance in the form of mattresses to ease their situation, and these mattresses were distributed from the ODPM with the assistance of the Engineering Battalion, Trinidad and Tobago Regiment and ODPM's inhouse resources.

4. Clean up operations was a multi agency exercise conducted over several days. This exercise was carried out in areas such as Caroni including Frederick Settlement, Torrecilla Gardens, Arima, City of Port of Spain, Maraval, Blanchisseuse, Maracas and Chaguaramas which had experienced massive amounts of debris and mud from flooding, and landslides. This effort is 85% completed and is expected to be fully completed by midweek.

5. The Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service will continue to supply the residents of Frederick Settlement with a limited supply of water until a regular supply of water from WASA is resumed.

6. Members of the Defence Force - Volunteer Defence Force and the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, Engineer Battalion were deployed to Tobago over the weekend and remain on that island to assist the ODPM there with repairs to houses whose roofs have blown off. To date these soldiers have assisted with rebuilding works at Plymouth, Roxborough and Calderhall. At the request of the ODPM, Tobago, tarpaulins were sent as a temporary cover last week.

At the close of the meeting this morning, OPDM Pro Tem Director, Dr Chin thanked all the members of the Task Force for their unstinting dedication to the management of disasters. The Director spoke of the growing cooperation among inter agencies, which facilitated quick action in dealing with the various scenarios that occurred because of Tropical Storm Emily. He complimented the various agencies involved including the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross and the Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Radio League for their continued good work in keeping the ODPM and the nation in touch with real time information during the passage of Tropical Storm Emily.