ECD still battling floods

Michael Todd, a farmer of Sideline Dam, Buxton, ECD relating to the Guyana Chronicle his struggles with the floods (Samuel Maughn photo)

–NDIA deploys extra pumps to help with drainage

FARMERS and residents of Sideline Dam, Buxton, East Coast Demerara (ECD) are counting their losses following persistent rainfall over the past few days which has left their small community inundated.
Although the water has receded in some of the affected areas along the East Coast, residents of Sideline Dam in particular are still making their way around through flooded yards.
Michael Todd, a farmer, was counting his losses when the Guyana Chronicle visited the area. He’s lost over $100,000 in produce and stocks to date, and is expecting more losses because the area is still inundated.

The state of many yards in Buxton on Monday

The 62-year-old said that in the more than two decades he’s been living there, he’s done nothing else but farm and raise a few heads of livestock. That’s how he makes his living, he said, so the loss is tremendous. These days, however, because of the consistent flooding, he’s having a change of heart; he’s thinking seriously about taking up another trade.
“This is not the first, second or third time this happened,” Todd said, adding:
“Sideline Dam always suffering when rain falls.”
He’s not happy either with the way the relevant authorities treat with the people in the area; they do not visit to listen to their concerns during the time of distress, he said. They’re more concerned with the people on the “Line-Top”, and not venturing down to the areas that are most affected.

And on top of this, Todd said, whenever there’s a flood and the residents suffer losses, they are not recompensed in any way. Villagers usually have to start all over again, without any help whatsoever from the authorities. It’s a situation that Livestock farmer, Mr Eton Sanko, could relate to, as he’s had to do it time and again.
He, too, suffered tremendous losses this time around. He explained that of the eight baby goats he had, only one remains. He was also only able to save one of his ducks.
“I lose a lot every time this place flood out… And the thing is, no one helps us to get back stock, so it’s hard,” Mr Sanko said.

“So far, the area has been flooded for over six days and no one came to visit us,” the distressed farmer added.
But he and Todd are not alone, as other villagers have voiced similar sentiments, in that they’re yet to see an official since the beginning of the rainy season.
They may have somehow missed him since Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr David Patterson, paid a visit to some of the affected East Coast villages, including Sideline Dam, over the weekend and was quoted as saying that he has requested the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) to revisit the area in the coming days to address the concerns of residents.

He said 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,” Minister Patterson reportedly said.
According to him, the authorities, including the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) will do their utmost to alleviate the situation.

It was also reported on Sunday that the NDIA will be placing two additional pumps at Buxton to assist in relieving the flooded community and surrounding villages along the East Coast.
According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the NDIA has recognised the urgency to relieve the flooded area and has organised for a pump from the East Coast and another from Berbice to be moved to Buxton.