SOS for Flatbottom Boats to Help with Flood Victims

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

A CALL has been issued to fishermen with flatbottom vessels to come to the aid of the many still marooned by flood waters on Tuesday.

Fishermen and Friends of the Seas (FFOS) Corporate Secretary Gary Aboud, in a video message being circulated on social media on Tuesday, made the call for assistance.

He said, “We have been besieged by calls from civilians who are asking us to send out an SOS to fishermen who have flat bottom boats to come to their rescue.

“This is a message to all our fishing members who have flat bottom vessels particularly those who fish in the Central Gulf of Paria in the swampy areas and we will arrange to tell you where the locations are of the flood victims whose lives are being threatened.”

Aboud also said that FFOS was extremely disappointed with the relevant government agencies “who should have sent out this notice themselves.”

He also said the agencies should offer some sort of stipend to fishermen to cover the cost of transport and gasoline.

Aboud said, “It is now that we have to depend on goodwill instead of good governance.”

Lots of support, more needed 

At 9.26 pm on Monday, eight rivers were over 90% capacity, the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government  stated based on eye-witness reports.

The Caroni Rivers at Bamboo Settlement and El Carmen remain full on Tuesday.

Information coming from Dr Rajendra Singh in Valsayn South showed that floodwaters in that area only receded five inches on Tuesday morning from their peak on Sunday.

Sunil Maharaj, of the Loud and Clear Audio Natural Disaster Organisation, told AZP News that there was an outpouring of support from small businesses, pharmacies and groups who are currently assisting.

Maharaj said Aboud got together his entire staff and family members to volunteer their services including providing fishing trawlers to transport dinghies  for rescue operations and providing cash to fishermen to purchase gas for their vehicles.

He said three fishermen have already heeded the call and promises were made by others to get on the floodwater.

Companies providing Caroni Bird Sanctuary tours also lent their flatbottom vessels to help those in need.

Sital Construction pledged commitment to have their hiab trucks used to transport the vessels were currently underwater in Felicity and awaiting the floodwaters to recede.

The Chaguanas Borough Corporation along with the Pierre Road Community Group are out in their numbers lending aid, Maharaj said.

A lot of support was also coming from the persons in the East-West Corridor and those with trucks who will need servicing afterwards Maharaj said.

He said meals were being prepared to be dropped off  at lunchtime for 350 people who were in need.

Anyone wanting to assist can call Maharaj at 758-1505.


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