The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) is today categorically deny recent statements attributed to the Chairman of the Penal-Debe Regional Corporation, Dr Allan Sammy, in which he alleges that the ODPM has not assisted the burgesses of the Corporation.
In a release sent by the ODPM yesterday evening the office said said that given the hundreds of man-hours that its members of staff and other arms of the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government have invested in bringing relief to the burgesses of the Corporation.
On Thursday 12 December 2019, the ODPM was contacted by the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government, for assistance in coordinating the evacuation of persons from flooded areas in the Penal-Debe Corporation. The Disaster Management Unit of that Ministry provides the first response to disasters in municipal corporations.
The ODPM in its role as the national disaster coordinating agency, immediately contacted the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, which expeditiously dispatched teams to the Corporation. These teams joined with the Disaster Management Unit of the Penal-Debe Corporation, the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service, and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and together, they tirelessly evacuated families from water-logged homes to safer ground. In addition, the joint units assisted in distributing food and other relief supplies to these families in an effort to relieve their discomfort.
Personnel of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force were also deployed into the Mayaro-Rio Claro Regional Corporation where similar operations were conducted.
Further, to support the ground evacuation operations, the ODPM coordinated with the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) for air reconnaissance to be conducted of the affected areas. All these operations continued into Friday and are ongoing today, Saturday 14 December 2019.