RESIDENTS of Number 59 to Number 60 Villages, East Berbice, Corentyne,
are blaming the Number 52-74 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC) for the almost
knee-high flooding in their villages.
The overnight rains resulted in damage to property and loss of livestock, as well as to crops and groceries.
According to residents, a small HDPE tube approximately 2.5 feet in diameter drains water from as far as Number 52 to Number 60 villages into the main drainage canal.
This tube, the residents explained, was placed too high and was also too small to allow for the free flow of water.
“This place start fuh flood since them put down the tubing and we explain to them that it too small but them seh that the government nah get money to put a bigger one. So when the rainy season start last year, we ask the RDC [Regional Democratic Council] chairman fuh buss the dam and allow the water to run off into the next canal quickly and we didn’t had any flood. Now one night rain and the whole place duck,” Dasrat Mohabir, a resident of Number 59 village said.
He claimed that when the rainy period ended last year, some other residents lifted the tube from its original spot, causing the area to erode.
The erosion was fixed by the NDC and when they replaced the tube, it was placed higher than its original position, causing more water to accumulate before it started to drain.
“Me tell them the tubing deh too high and them seh it deh alright that the water gun flow. Them revet the place and me tell them why them nah just put a bridge like what was there before and we won’t get any more flood but them nah listen,” Mohabir said.
He explained that the regional chairman on Saturday gave approval for residents to open the dam as they did last year to allow the water to pass, but when they started to dig, they were stopped by other residents and NDC officials.
“When me go fuh open the dam like last year, them start fuh fight and call in the police and suh. Them seh we can’t open the dam and start fuh fight. When we call back the regional chairman, he change he mouth and said we can’t open the dam anymore; we gotta talk to the NDC. Them mek we full it back or them seh the police gon lock we up.”
Mohabir explained that the NDC chairman is currently out of the district attending to a family emergency and those under his charge are giving residents a hard time.
He and other residents are accusing the NDC representatives of neglecting their interest.
“This water gotta travel all the way from 52 and come here and if it can’t drain quickly, it gun continue to swell. This morning it was only about six inches high, now it reach up to you knee, all me yard fowl them get cramp and dead, me just throw them away,” another resident Hardat Kissoon said.
Rampersaud (only name given), also a resident and mother of three, lamented
that the situation is unhealthy, especially for the children who are currently writing end-of-term examinations.
“All body toilet run over in the water, me get lil children and them can’t even come out. All toilet water ah come till me bottom house and the water nah ah go down, it ah rise more cause the drainage trench block up all two side. Them can’t go school, them a write test wha u think gon happen to them,” she asked.
ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME
According to Geeta Goolcharran, a cash crop farmer, she lost all her pepper, bora, squash and boulanger, which provide her only source of income and is now contemplating how she will survive this week.
Indrawattie Ramkissoon, a shop owner of Lot 181, Number 59 Village, also complained bitterly. She related that when she woke up Saturday morning, her entire shop was under water.
“Everything flood, me lost soap powder, rice, potato, onion, garlic; over $200,000 me had to throw away,” she said.
Salima Wahab, a mother of four, pleaded with the Guyana Chronicle to publicise her plight, saying that she is helpless and hopes the authorities can look into the situation.
“My children they home since Thursday. Them can’t walk in that water, it
deh till to them knee since then them deh upstairs. Me ah beg if anybody can help us out, it would be really good, me nah know who fuh turn to,” she said.
The number 52-74 NDC is the largest NDC in the region and is controlled by the Opposition PPP. Residents are calling on central Government to step in and help them, since they believe that they are being neglected by the NDC officials.
“We want the government to act on our behalf and assess the situation. The tubing too small, either they put a bigger one and put it lower or they remove it and put revetment across the dam and place a bridge like they had before, so the water can run off quickly. This is only two days of rain and while we understand it was a lot, this would have never happened if the water was allowed to drain faster,” Mohabir said.
Rain on Friday night into Saturday morning has left many communities under water, but late Saturday afternoon the water started to recede as sluices and drainage pumps become operational.
But residents at Number 58-60 villages on the Corentyne are still under considerable amount of water due to slow drainage.