West Coast villages swamped after unusual high tides

Strong winds and unusually high tides swamped Cornelia Ida and Anna Catherina, on the West Coast of Demerara on Monday afternoon.

The villages were flooded after the enormous waves surged over the sea defences leaving some homeowners contending with water that was waist-high.

A home in Cornelia Ida still flooded yesterday, two days after the overtopping of the sea defences by unusually high tides. (Photo by Arian Browne)
A home in Cornelia Ida still flooded yesterday, two days after the overtopping of the sea defences by unusually high tides. (Photo by Arian Browne)

Officials from the Ministry of Transport and the Region Three Administration, including Chairman Julius Faerber, visited the areas the next day and installed equipment to flush the flooded water back into the ocean. Villagers of Anna Catherina said that the ministry also ordered that the main drain off of the Sea View Road be dug deeper in order to prevent more flooding.

However, they were unable to remove all of the garbage washed ashore.

The residents yesterday said after the ministry’s intervention, the flooding decreased but some were still afraid to leave their homes.

A resident of Anna Catherina told Stabroek News that his foot was pierced with a sharp object after he had decided to check the damage done to his bottom flat. He said that the water in his lower apartment so high that his furniture was floating. “The water come up to my waist,” the man said.

The aftermath of the flooding in Cornelia Ida, where the streets were littered with garbage. (Photo by Arian Browne)
The aftermath of the flooding in Cornelia Ida, where the streets were littered with garbage. (Photo by Arian Browne)

At Cornelia Ida, another resident recalled
that she was sitting in her veranda when she saw the waves start to ride over the sea defences. She said that the water ripped away her fence and began to swell in her home. She explained that it was normal for the village of Cornelia Ida to experience high spring tides but this was the worst since the historic 2005 flooding of the coastland of Guyana.

“The water de so high it cover half of my car,” a man said. “Is till when they come and fix the dam and put in that culvert that the water start to drain off a little.”

Meanwhile, Abdool Fazeel, a businessman, said that his shop was under water for two days. “I see when the water started to swell and ride over the wall,” he said, mentioning that Cornelia Ida experienced flooding every four months.

He said that the community had complained to the Neighbourhood Democratic Council about the problem but always received promises instead of help. “Everybody came and visit this place and see the situation. Everybody from the cabinet come and visit this place.

This is not a new thing every couple months this place a flood,” he declared.

A resident of Anna Catherina’s bridge was broken after a drain was dug to help reduce the flooding. (Photo by Arian Browne)
A resident of Anna Catherina’s bridge was broken after a drain was dug to help reduce the flooding. (Photo by Arian Browne)

In a letter in yesterday’s Stabroek News, C Woolford said “I would like to highlight the plight we the residents of Sea-view, Cornelia Ida, West Coast, Demerara have been suffering for about 20 years.  Every time there is high tide, water would roll over the sea wall and flood our yards and homes. The water would rise as much as 20 inches and even cover the road.”

The writer added  that there were some attempts in the past to solve the problem.

“ We have some engineers who believe they have supreme knowledge and just do whatever they think is right, instead of consulting with the residents. They put some culverts with little regard to the volume of water to be handled. In some instances they put some tubes lower than the draining level rendering them useless. The residents of Sea-view, Cornelia Ida vow that enough is enough. They also vow that if this situation is not remedied by the PPP/C administration urgently, come next election they will definitely see the backs of those who once voted for them”, the letter writer added.

Huge waves caused by abnormal high tides overtopped the seawall from Kitty to Turkeyen, on the East Coast of Demerara on Monday afternoon, quickly flooding the public road and resulting in the diversion of traffic.

According to the Hydrometeorological Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, the tides were caused by a weather front in the Atlantic Ocean.

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