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Drone footage of the October flooding in Trinidad and Tobago
Drone footage of the October flooding in Trinidad and Tobago

'Climate Change is Real'

Monday November 26 2018

The Rev Keron Khellawan, of the Presbyterian Church of Trinidad and Tobago, explains the impact of this year's flooding on the Caribbean islands.


Keron Khellawan


On September 28 the Bajan Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley spoke at the UN on the impact of ecological damage that the Caribbean and smaller economies are facing in the face of natural disasters.

For me her plea was a real one, as being a Caribbean Christian I must call on the international front for further sanctions and lobbying to occur in relation to what we experience.

For the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago has long been the stable hand of support for many other islands affected by natural disasters, but new realities have hit us within the Trinidad and Tobago context.

On August 21 the Islands were hit by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake and over the following days an increased number of aftershocks and earthquakes not previously experienced. This experience shocked us, but we rose again and pressed forward, then October and November brought with it a new level of natural disasters that were described as the worst we ever experienced.

On October 20, the day of our Presbyterian National Convention, while worshipping and sharing with others news broke that the big island – Trinidad - was literally cut in half with flood waters from the Eastern waterfront of Manzanilla and Mayaro to the Western waterfront of Caroni and Chaguanas. The water rose covering towns, highways, farm lands and, yes, churches and schools. Personally I realised my own predicament, as my home was inaccessible from where the Convention was held, and my parents and family members were also either affected or inaccessible due to rising waters. The feeling was daunting, but with the aid of many we were housed and able to weather the reality of our time.

Immediately the Church and community were activated, uniquely due to the extent of the devastation. Religious affiliation was of no concern, as the community and religious bodies moved together, to aid in rescues, recovery, and support. Even persons affected lent a hand in support of those who lost everything. While recovery efforts continued November 9 came bringing with it new areas affected by floods, now areas once not affected were feeling the pinch of flooding, and once again the communities arose in action.

I am thankful and proud of the efforts of the communities to rise out of these disasters, but I am begged in my Faith to call, as the prophets call, for a push again into the ecological theologies to become active agents of change. We need not just communities but multinational companies and societies to work together for a sustainable shift in climate relations.

Friends: for me, living in the Caribbean, climate change is real.


The Presbyterian Church of Trinidad and Tobago is a partner church of the Church of Scotland.

 


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