Linden landslide
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Scenes from the landslide at Wismar, Linden
Scenes from the landslide at Wismar, Linden

– Two homes destroyed
– Man feared buried later found unharmed
– Good Samaritan act potentially goes wrong
– Resident leaps to assist three elderly women

 

RESIDENTS from Poker Street in Wismar, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice) are still shocked and in disbelief as they try to comprehend what would have caused the landslide that occurred yesterday morning around 10:20hrs.

In an exclusive interview, Linden resident, Robin Jessop said she was washing clothes when she saw the house behind her move to her fence.

Robin realised that it was going to collide with her house, so she hopped the fence in an effort to assist the three elderly women who were living in the home that was located on top of the moving land.

According to Robin, when she got there, one of the women was on the ground with debris piled on top of her. Jessop explained that while she was trying to lift the things off of the woman, a young man from another yard jumped over the fence and added to the assistance.

Robin Jessop and the young man, whose name was not given, assisted the other two ladies to get to safety.

According to a Linden-based reporter, the three women were visibly shaken after the ordeal.

It was also initially reported that Charlie Thakur, an excavator operator, was operating machinery at the time and was suspected to have been trapped under the aggregates.

The Regional Commander, Superintendent Hugh Winter told the Guyana Chronicle that he received a call from someone who informed him of the event as it was unfolding.

He said he immediately dispatched members of the local police and the fire fighters, who responded promptly to the emergency call.

After some time, the Regional Commander confirmed with the Guyana Chronicle that the operator, Charlie Thakur, was found alive and well at one of his relatives’ homes in Wismar.

According to Mr. Winter, Charlie provided a statement and noted in part that he “panicked” after he realised what was happening and fled the scene.

Charlie Thakur who was believed to be trapped under the shifted earth

Commander Hugh Winter also mentioned that there are some officials from the regional administration office that up to late yesterday were assessing the damage caused. Two houses were severely damaged in the incident.

One theory of how the land became unstable was that the excavation work might have been responsible.

Symon Harry, a private contractor, thought he was doing a good deed by assisting in the relief of the community’s water situation. Harry explained to an online source that there were operators who were at the time digging to locate a drain which he believed would have helped the residents of the community since they were experiencing a water situation for some time.

Symon said that, “It was a drain I was trying to find; we were getting water problems in the community for some time, however, like he [Charlie] went too close to a pocket of water and that pushed down the whole thing.”

Regional Chairman Deron Adams told the Guyana Chronicle via telephone that he was in Georgetown for a meeting at the time of the incident. Upon receiving a telephone call, he immediately left the meeting and proceeded to Wismar, Linden.

According to the regional chairman, “when I got back I saw that there was a mudslide, and our councillors were on the ground with other officials assessing the situation.”

Adams believes that they may have to liaise with the central government and relevant agencies to activate the “disaster and preparedness team,” which will bring support to the people.

He also noted that the Regional Executive Officer, Mr. Dwight John, the Environmental Protection Agency, and a representative of the Prime Minister’s Office were on site and collected information about the events that had transpired.

The regional chairman confirmed that no one was seriously injured, but two of the senior citizens’ properties were heavily damaged.

“Three families are directly affected by the slide, and the task right now is to try and get the area cleared up, but I am concerned because in the area there are a number of other houses that are in the same vicinity.

“Because of the shifting of the soil, those other houses could possibly be compromised at some point in time,” said Adams.

With the Prime Minister’s representative being present at the location yesterday, Mr. Adams expressed commitment to work with all other authorities including the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) to bring relief for the families of those who are affected.

Adams expressed optimism that the Government of Guyana and regional officials will also work together to get some “technical people” on the ground to give advice on dealing with the matter going forward.

At the moment, the Regional Chairman believes that the three pensioners, along with the other occupants, will be staying with their family members until other arrangements are put in place as the week progresses.

He related that there was one person who didn’t seem to have any family members, but the officials would do a follow-up to make sure that the individual was taken care of.

Chairman Adams later issued a statement of concern through his office. Power was also disrupted to the area as a result of the landslide, causing damage to power lines.

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