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Heavy rainfall disrupts school in Matelot

Heavy April showers and flooding caused the suspension of classes at the Matelot RC and Matelot Community College on Monday and Tuesday. While flooding caused the school to be inaccessible, it was the loss of electrical supply that prevented even online tuition from happening.

The Catholic News learned that teachers could not get to the school and did not want to risk venturing through flooding that extended to Matura.

“It is like a yearly issue or as much as the rain falls…we have flooding as far out as Matura which is about 15 to 20 minutes from Sangre Grande,” the Catholic News was informed by a source.

There were two power outages on Monday and again from about 6 a.m. Tuesday. “It comes with the rain and the wind,” they said. The school adapted to the adverse conditions and through the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic with loss of in-person classes supplemented with online classes and WhatsApp messaging.

“Teachers have a lot of work online but with no electricity we can’t do anything, and with the rain that is falling it may not come back until this evening (Tuesday) or tomorrow”, the source said.

The primary and secondary schools have about 100 children in total.

A yellow level weather alert is in effect. It warns of the possibility of periods of heavy rainfall and isolated thunderstorms which can lead to street and/or flash flooding, gusty winds, electrical discharges, landslips and/or landslides.

The TT Meteorological Service forecast “cloudy conditions with periods of showers/rain over broad areas” today, April 25. A 40-70 per cent (medium-high) chance of showers becoming heavy or thundery in some areas was predicted. Weather conditions were expected to “gradually settle as the night progresses despite lingering showers over varying areas” https://www.metoffice.gov.tt/forecast.

Last September 5, the commencement of classes for the 2022–2023 academic year was delayed because of major landslides and disintegration of a section of the Paria Main Road. There were concerns also about the rotting of bridges on the Paria Main Road and at the corner of Marcelle Trace/Paria Main Road.

Electricity, internet, and phone services were interrupted for days. A crew from the Ministry of Works and Transport were to conduct clearing and benching (dividing the area into several smaller and less steep slopes reinforced by retaining walls) to prevent further land slippage.

In-person classes resumed September 9 after the Ministry advised the road and bridges to Matelot were passable.