Floodwaters destroy farms in Lamp Island
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A wide shot of the community being inundated
A wide shot of the community being inundated

FLOODWATERS have destroyed the farms of residents of the small farming community of Lamp Island, Berbice River, even as authorities have described the situation as a disaster and urge immediate help for residents.
Lamp Island, which is located in the Berbice River, is inhabited by around 50 families who depend on fishing, farming and hunting for a living and while flooding occurs approximately every 5 five to six years, this episode has been described as the worse.

Over the past month, many of the residents, especially those living in flat houses were forced to evacuate and while some had nowhere else to go, they remained in the community with water estimated to be 9 ft. deep. According to Region 10 Vice-Chairman Elroy Adolph, who is a resident of Kwakwani, the situation continues to worsen every time it rains and residents are counting their losses in the thousands as their livestock and other material possessions have been destroyed.

This was corroborated by the Chairperson of the Kwakwani Neighbourhood Democratic Council (KNDC) Merna Adrian, who said that all of the farms in the area have been destroyed because of the flood. The last flooding occurred in 2012, but not to this magnitude. Adolph said that the office of the vice-chairman made a donation of food items to the residents as well as the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the community. He said that a report was made to the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) after an assessment was completed by the KNDC and the response given is that the residents were warned about squatting in the area, since it is close to the river and will be prone to flooding and they were also advised to move out during previous flooding.

Adolph reported that the main access road to the larger sections of Kwakwani is also under water and therefore a by-pass situated around the crushing plant area had to be made. “Even if all the water stop fall now, it will take a good time for all the water around there to drain off,” Adolph said in explaining the situation. Adrian said that the NDC was not able to render significant assistance to the residents, but a report was completed and no visit or response was done by higher authorities, even though the residents have lost most or in some cases their entire livelihoods.

“We haven’t received any response as yet, and the people, they depend on fishing, farming and hunting for a living,” Adrian said. Residents and other community authorities are calling on the RDC and CDC to be more proactive in bringing relief to the residents of Lamp Island.

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