The community of Valencia in East Trinidad is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Season 2020 after experiencing heavy flooding of the landmark Valencia Junction area following rainy season showers over recent weeks.
Residents are linking the unusual flooding to the reconstruction of the Junction into a large roundabout at the Valencia end of the controversial $196 million Valencia to Toco Highway. They want the authorities to investigate and remedy the drainage problem urgently before the full onslaught of the Hurricane Season.
Video captured by this journalist shows overflowing drains around the roundabout and the complete flooding of the fresh produce market. With floodwaters now regularly disrupting sales, vendors and farmers are worried about the threat to their livelihoods and the public’s exposure to food-borne illnesses through contaminated water.
Residents complain that the engineering works did not take their advice into consideration, including their suggestion of rainwater run-off diversions to the Valencia River. Unless addressed immediately, they fear the flooding will worsen and overwhelm their community as the rainy season intensifies with the prospect of storms and hurricanes.
Pondering the flood waters, one resident noted wryly that with floodwater converting the area into “an ocean”, he now understands the meaning of the lighthouse built at the centre of the roundabout.