DAYS after providing relief to flood-affected residents of Canal Number One, West Bank Demerara (WBD), the government on Saturday reached out to Albouystown residents facing a similar situation caused by heavy rains.
Although the water had receded in most parts of the community, residents were counting their losses and salvaging what they could. In most cases, the water level was high enough to reach into their houses.
The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown after realising the situation was beyond their control, called in the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) to provide assistance to the residents.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon and a team from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), the M&CC and the Public Health Ministry visited the area on Saturday and distributed over 300 care packages to residents.
Prior to the visit, one resident Nicholas Allicock said the area was flooded with water knee high.
“Water de so high I couldn’t even go to work budday, it was tough and plus is the holiday season, so the family was looking for a good time but because of the rain, it couldn’t happen,” the concerned resident said.
The father of two noted every time it rains, his house is flooded, but this occasion it was worse since the water level was higher than usual.
He pointed to a spot where someone once lived, but was forced to move due to the heavy water accumulation.
Another resident, Sherryan Amin, said her condition was much worse since she has a baby to take care of. Although there has been no report of outbreak of illness, Amin said her child has been ill for the past few days.
“Most people in the area got latrine, so all the faeces flow into the waterways and when the rain falls and we get flooding all that water does flow over,” the young mother lamented.
Many other residents said their children fell ill after coming into contact with the stagnant water. When the water started to recede, they were able to clean their surroundings.
Cleaning the area was a major concern for Minister Harmon. He told the residents that in order to improve drainage, residents have to stop throwing garbage in the trenches and alleyways.
“I walk around here and see all kinds of trash around the area… there is only so much that local government and central government can do to clean the area; but it is up to you to keep it clean because when garbage gets into the drains, they become clogged,” he said.
He urged residents to sanitise the area as soon as the water recedes and in order to assist them in doing so, the government included cleaning detergents and other sanitary items in the care packages.
The team from GWI and the Public Health Ministry also used the opportunity to advise persons on how to clean their surroundings in order to avoid contracting water-borne diseases.
Persons who occupy lower-flat houses were the main audience since they come into immediate contact with the stagnant water.
Minister Harmon recalled a few years ago the community was affected by flooding around the same time of the year.
He said it was difficult, especially for persons living in the lower flats of buildings, but assured residents that the government will continue to ensure that the main drains are cleared and the sluices are operational in order to avoid major flooding.
The minister also commended the Public Infrastructure Ministry and the M&CC for the work they have done so far in keeping the drains and trenches cleaned.
“In order to keep this up and bringing cleaning to a community level, during the course of next week we will bring a truck with spades and shovels, so that you will help to pick up the garbage and we will move it… we need all hands on deck to keep the environment clean and free from danger,” Harmon told the residents of Albouystown.
The residents were urged to be agents of positive change. They welcomed the idea and the assistance of the government, but indicated that more needs to be done for their community.
City Mayor Patricia Chase-Green said a lot can be achieved once there is cooperation between central government and local government bodies.
She noted that the city will continue to appeal to the government for help once the need arises.