Tropical wave causes flooding in Curaçao

September 23, 2022 | Oscar Van Damme and John Samson

A tropical wave has brought torrential rain to Curaçao, with flooding in some places. Once again it shows how weak the island’s infrastructure is.

Earlier on Thursday, the Met Office warned of “flooding in vulnerable locations.” After a few hours, a lot of photos are being shared on social media of the places where the streets were flooded, As in Otrobanda.

“All day long, various radio stations warned of heavy rain. There were also an astonishing number of accidents on the street yesterday,” says reporter Oscar Van Dam.

“The Navy has been called in to provide assistance, schools are not opening today and people are being asked to start work later.”

In Salina, a car almost completely disappeared into a crowded ditch on Thursday. It is one of the busiest places in Curaçao, with many large businesses, shops and restaurants. It is also the most vulnerable to flooding.

Curaçao asks for help from the defense
“Many natural disasters—which had been forewarned—did not come. In the evening the rain stopped. Curaçao generally went into the evening quietly, waiting for what was to come.”

Curaçao has asked the Defense Ministry to prepare to provide transportation and emergency assistance. Defense has special terrain vehicles, Alleged anacondawho can drive in difficult areas.

The neighboring islands of Aruba and Bonaire also have to deal with thunderstorms And the sea is roughbut it seems to be fine.

Schools are closed and work starts later
The government also called on all employers on Thursday evening not to allow their employees to work until 10 am on Friday. Civil servants do not have to come to work until 10 am, except for vital occupations.

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The government wants to prevent street traffic jams early Friday morning.

Education Minister Sithrie van Heydorn decided to close schools on Friday. For years, schools have been forced to remain closed during heavy rains. This is not only because of traffic problems, but also because of the infrastructure problems of the schools themselves. Many classrooms are spread over the school grounds and thus inaccessible due to standing water and mud.

Meteo withdraws its warning
According to the latest meteorological report, there may be short rains locally, but the “yellow code” is no longer in effect. “The severe thunderstorm warning has been withdrawn. Code yellow will continue to be applied to rough seas in the western and southern coastal regions.”

Climate change
Due to climate change, extreme weather is expected to become more frequent. For the ABC Islands, that means: more heat, more drought, and when it rains it will get more intense.

Heavy rain and flooding often occur in hurricane season. In 2010, Tropical Storm Tomás caused two deaths and an estimated $115 million in property damage in Curaçao.

Editor’s tip

What does climate change mean for the Caribbean parts of the kingdom? John Samson takes you on a journey around all six islands, talking to locals and experts. There is something wonderful going on on every island.

Listen to the podcast “The Forgotten Climate Crisis” for NPO Radio 1 and share it with your friends.

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