Pumps in operation

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder and National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Flatts inspect the pump in Buxton in operation (DPI/GINA photo)

–as authorities battle floods caused by persistent rain

SEVERAL East Coast Demerara (ECD) villages were under water on Saturday and the authorities are urging residents across the country to take precautionary measures as efforts to alleviate flooding continue.

Floodwaters at the Buxton Sideline Dam on the East Coast of Demerara on Saturday.

Persistent rainfall over the past several days have resulted in an inundation of low–lying areas across the coastland, and on Saturday, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, led a team of engineers, government officials, and media operatives on a visit to the communities of Buxton, Vigilance and connecting villages on the ECD in response to recent heavy rainfalls that have left many homes flooded.

Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, who was present, provided critical updates on the works being undertaken by his ministry, through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA).
Frederick Flatts noted that most of the 58 pumps across the coastland were in operation. According to a release from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, a pump would be relocated from the village of Strathspey to Ogle in order to provide relief to residents in Atlanticville, the University of Guyana (UG) area, and Cummings Lodge.
“So, by midnight tonight, they [the residents] should start to have some relief,” Minister Patterson said.

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson (left) listens to the concerns of an affected resident of Vigilance, during a tour of the area on Saturday.

Minister Patterson told the media that he has requested the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) to revisit the area in the coming days to address the concerns of residents. He added that several interventions will be taken by the Government of Guyana (GoG) over time, while more immediate efforts will be undertaken to provide relief to the residents. These include the distribution of care packs containing sanitation items, to ensure the welfare of residents is addressed.

“We do empathise with the persons who are under water at the moment, and we’ve asked them to take precautions for the next three days because the weather forecast does say that we will have rain,” Patterson said. According to him, the authorities including the NDIA and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) will work its utmost to alleviate the situation.
During the Buxton visit, this newspaper observed that the floodwaters were high in certain

A man fetches a young calf which was born minutes before near the public road at Triumph on the East Coast of Demerara. The animal was born close to a flooded section of the village. (Alva Solomon photo)

areas, including several yards near the Buxton Sideline Dam. Villager, Michael Todd, related that his yard has been under water since Thursday resulting in his entire garden where he plants vegetables being destroyed . He said that the koker near his yard is utilised for channeling the water out of the area but pointed out that the structure has been covered with water since Friday morning.

Along the Church of God road in Buxton, several yards were also flooded and persons there noted that the water level is expected to remain high until the rains eases.
At Stratsphey, several homes which are built on the government reserve were also affected by the floodwaters. The homes were built beyond a canal which is used by GuySuCo for drainage and irrigation purposes.

A resident of Buxton wades through the waters near the railway line embankment on Saturday.

Several communities along the lower ECD, including Success and Better Hope were also under water when the team visited on Saturday.
According to the Hydromet Department, over the next three days, cloudy to overcast conditionswith isolated thunderstorms and intermittent rainfall is forecasted. In addition, inland and coastal areas can expect 20 to 80 millimeters of rainfall.