91 reports of landslides, fallen trees in Tobago since November

Landslide Danger Alert

In October and November, Tobago had 91 reports of landslides and fallen trees associated with bad weather, according to the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) director Allan Stewart.

He said this has been the most landslides recorded in Tobago over the last ten years.

Speaking to Newsday on Wednesday Stewart said, “Every single weekend we have been having heavy rainfall and this brought us to this episode of landslides. Even without rain we are still having landslides because of the amount of water in the soil, and the slopes are unstable right now.”

On Tuesday TEMA received another report of a landslide in Castara threatening the home of one family.

He said many of the homes were constructed on hills without a retaining wall.

“It now costs more to build the retaining walls than the value of the homes. In some cases, the house is less than $40,000, and to protect that same property is close to $1 million. Retaining walls are expensive. But it’s our best chance to protect these homes and families.”

He said in November there were over 36 reports of landslides. Twenty-eight of them were classified as “severe,” affecting several villages in Tobago East.

“TEMA’s response to the landslides went quite well. There was some delay as a result of the mobilisation and the time of the occurrence.

“Some of these reports were domestic and required more attention.”

He said two families, in the Parlatuvier area, were advised to leave their homes after a landslide covered the buildings.

“If there is additional rain it now puts the homes at greater risk, so they were asked to evacuate. These homes are small – one-bedroom, toilet and bath – that’s being pushed away by the landslides. From preliminary investigation, they would have to rebuild their homes.”

He said TEMA has been receiving assistance from the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment and the fire and police service.

In a recent release, the Met Office said December is likely to be wetter than usual. December 2020-February 2021 is likely to have above-average rainfall with an 80 per cent chance of at least one seven-day wet spell.

Courtesy of newsday.co.tt


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