Published On: Mon, Oct 22nd, 2018

Amidst flood disaster, weekend earthquakes hit Trinidad & Tobago

earthquake-and-floodingPORT OF SPAIN - Two earthquakes struck off Trinidad and Tobago within 24 hours over the weekend, as the twin-island republic was dealing with massive flooding that caused destruction in some sections of the country and led Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to declare a national disaster.

There were no reports of any injuries as a result of the quakes, however.

According to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, the first, smaller one occurred on Saturday, around 4:41 p.m. That magnitude 4.2 tremor struck 92 km south of Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown; 166 km northeast of Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago; and 191 km southeast of Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Then on Sunday afternoon, at approximately 12:35 p.m., a 5.1 magnitude quake was recorded 78 km northeast of Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago; 161 km northeast of Arima, Trinidad and Tobago; and 181 km northeast of the capital, Port of Spain.

In both instances, there were reports of residents of Trinidad and Tobago feeling the tremor. But the focus there was on the massive flooding that resulted from days of heavy rainfall that started on Friday.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said the country had received the equivalent of one month’s rainfall in a three-day period.

Several homes were flooded out, and residents were trapped on roofs and on top partially-submerged vehicles as they sought to escape the rising flood waters.

Some of the severe flooring stemmed from the overflowing of the Caroni River.

Both disaster officials and residents used boats and dinghies to get the marooned residents to safety and deliver food and other supplies to areas inundated by flood waters.

“This is a national disaster, the flooding is quite widespread and quite severe and it is going to cost a lot of money to bring relief to people who have been affected,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said on Saturday after touring some of the affected areas.

“Notwithstanding whatever shortages we are experiencing we will have to find the resources to help,” he added.

He said he would seek’s Cabinet approval to get TT$25 million (US$3.7 million) to assist those affected by the floods.

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