–Minister Mustapha says NDIA officers assigned to monitor pumps 24/7
ALTHOUGH early morning showers, on Friday, resulted in several sections of the city being flooded, “vigilante monitoring” of pumps and sluices across the city by the Ministry of Agriculture has been credited for the mitigation of the situation.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, in an invited comment on Friday, said that notwithstanding some amount of resistance from the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), his ministry has been adding a secondary level of monitoring through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA).
“This is as a result of the work that we have done overtime, getting these systems in place… because of the resources we have expended, the machinery we have made available and the works we have done overtime. This is the investment that we are talking about to ensure we get fast relief,” Minister Mustapha related.
He added: “When I went [to a sluice Thursday night] while the sluice was open, half of the door was in the water impeding the flow of the water. Last night, at Riverview, residents complained that either the pump or the sluice wasn’t working.”
He said NDIA has been quick to ensure that any issue is rectified immediately, and has also been vigilant in ensuring that all canals and drains are cleared. Minister Mustapha said too that the M&CC must do its part to ensure that all systems are functioning properly.
“I have since assigned three engineers from the NDIA to monitor these pumps and sluices on a 24-hour basis to ensure they are operable. In some instances, the town council workers refuse entry to the compound of our engineers.
“I tried to make contact with the mayor and invited him to a meeting, but he did not turn up, only the engineer came. I ask that his workers facilitate our engineers to monitor these structures,” Mustapha said.
Georgetown experienced approximately four inches of rainfall on Friday; this intense level of rainfall is expected all across the country over the next two months.
To this end, Minister Mustapha said the ministry is calling on citizens to take necessary precautions against this natural occurrence.
“Two days ago we put out an advisory that we will have heavy and intense rainfall until February, so residents should be cautious and also help to ensure the system is cleared by avoid dumping garbage and other things in the system,” the minister related.
When garbage is disposed improperly, it often finds its way into the waterways and clog them. This is one of the most prevalent factors that exacerbates the flood situation in Guyana.
Earlier this week, the Hydrometeorological Service of the MoA predicted that there will be a high chance of wetter than usual (above-normal) conditions across all 10 Administrative Regions of Guyana for the period of December, 2021 until early February, 2022.
According to a seasonal forecast and advisory for the secondary rainfall season issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, rainfall amounts and frequency are expected to increase as the season progresses.
Minister Mustapha said that the same heightened monitoring going on in the city is currently being carried out all across the country.
“We are also monitoring the entire country and all our pumps and sluice operable. The drainage canals are clear and we are monitoring the situation,” he said.