Rebuilding a Community in Trinidad and Tobago

Wheelbarrows and buckets of soil are carried away by student volunteers and locals under the springtime heat in Trinidad and Tobago. Preparations for the construction site are underway in an effort to rebuild a community in need.

Over 2,100 people call Moriah home. The rural community located in north central Tobago is currently at-risk and highly susceptible to landslides.

With a very steep landscape and many residences located on hill sides, they are frequently impacted by what community members are calling the single most important danger affecting the community.

In 2014, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) received four separate incident reports of landslides in Moriah, with additional ones going unreported.

With a goal of reducing the devastating effects of landslides on livelihoods, homes and household safety in low-income areas, the Government of Canada is supporting Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago.

Student volunteers and locals at work on the construction site. [Habitat for Humanity/Kevon Thomas]

Disaster Relief

"Normally we work on new home construction. This is the first time we are not building a home but rather part of a disaster relief project funded by the Canadian Government." - Dr. Matthew Kenney, Professor Austin Peay University

With support from the Canada Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Fund (CCDRMF), this project will see the construction of up to ten filled concrete block retaining walls with steel reinforcement. It is estimated that this wall will benefit approximately 50 people.

Additionally, another 25 people will benefit through the installation of five rainwater harvesting systems to channel roof water into gutters and tanks for drinking and irrigation purposes.

Community members will also receive training in wall and rainwater harvesting systems, and construction and maintenance to ensure sustainable impact.

[Habitat for Humanity/Kevon Thomas]

Volunteer Driven

Through Habitat for Humanity, 10 student volunteers from Austin Peay State University, in Clarksville Tennessee, have started working on the wall in Fair Hill, also known as Canada Lane.

“I am full of gratitude to all the partners in the project, and very thankful to Habitat for Humanity first of all for bridging the gap and putting us on to the Canadian [High Commission]” - Kevin Thomas, President of the Moriah Village Council

The volunteers will plant 100 trees and/or ground cover plants to stabilize hillsides and prevent landslides.

The project will also support the addition of community centre bathrooms to the Moriah Community Centre, which will be used as an Emergency Shelter in the event of a disaster.

There are plans for the production of signage for “Canada Lane” and an unveiling the next time the High Commissioner is in Tobago to commemorate Canada 150 as a thank you to Canada.

[Habitat for Humanity/Kevon Thomas]

The Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago secured funding for this project from the Canada Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Fund, part of Canada’s C$600 million Caribbean Regional Program. The Fund is designed to support non-governmental organizations, community groups and government agencies within CARICOM (Caribbean Community) in carrying out small-scale community projects to reduce the risks from the many natural hazards affecting the region, such as floods, droughts, storms, and hurricanes.

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