Two sea defences which collapsed earlier this week have been patched up by the Public Works Ministry but some residents living near the two areas says the works done are poor.
A large section of the inner wall of the Mosquito Hall, East Coast Demerara seawall caved in on Tuesday after it was hit by a 3.18 metre high tide, which washed away an earthen embankment and caused flooding for residents inhabiting the area.
Similarly, a section of the Hyde Park earthen sea defence collapsed on Monday evening after high tides crashed into the wall, swamping homes in the area. A 15-foot breach subsequently developed in the sea defence. However, the situation was quickly monitored and officials of the Public Works Ministry’s Sea and River Defence Force Account Unit carried out emergency repairs on the defence, refilling it with mud.
When Stabroek News visited the Mosquito Hall area yesterday, residents said they were hit by another high tide earlier in the morning. Ministry of Public Works workers were seen patching sections of the sea defence which had collapsed but the freshly cemented wall was seen falling off while long huge cracks in the wall were flaking off at hand touch.
Residents at Mosquito Hall were yesterday irate about the works carried out on the seawall, arguing that the “poor” patch up work would not keep the waves at bay, while calling for the erection of a new sea defence. The residents pointed out that the waves crashing over the wall would sometimes be several feet above the wall. “Sometimes when the water come over the wall it would lash till on the roof,” said Bharrat (only name given).
He said after the ministry dug the drain which separates an earthen embankment from the village, the seawall was weakened and since then they have been carrying out repairs on the defence because of the overtopping. “And now they come and patch-patch but that can’t do nothing. I feel they should build back the whole wall,” he said.
Violet Mohamed said she was fearful every time a wave crashed over the wall. “Three days Mosquito Hall get flood because of this sea defence….water is fly till over the drain and sometimes I say all of us gon dead here in the night…,” she said, adding that she had lived in the village for over 18 years and for the last few years the spring tide was getting higher and higher.
“I see they come and fixing it up but no matter how much they fix it the water does still roll over the wall and flood here,” she noted.
Chief River and Sea Defence Officer Kevin Samad had previously told this newspaper that tenders have been advertised for the reconstruction of the wall and the ministry is awaiting an award of contract, which is expected to be done shortly. He said within six months he expects that works on the structure should be at least 60% completed.
Early in January a section of the Mosquito Hall Sea defence had collapsed and caused severe flooding for residents.
Meanwhile, an official, who refused to be named, said the unit received a call around 5am on Tuesday about the breakage at Hyde Park. “We turned up at the
area around 6:30 yesterday morning (Tuesday) and fixed it immediately before the next tide,” he said, noting that they had completed works on the collapsed section of the sea defence yesterday afternoon.
The East Bank Essequibo residents, even though lamenting their losses, expressed confidence in the works of the unit, stating that they were not affected by the spring tide which struck the coastline earlier yesterday morning.
Tressa Crandon said if the river defence was not patched up, the community would have suffered at the hands of a bigger tide which hit Tuesday afternoon.
She related that when she arrived at work in the village Tuesday morning, the bridge was submerged by floodwaters and stocks in the shop where she worked were covered in water too.
She said neighbours were lifting their electrical appliances to higher ground as they watched the water level climb. “There was over seven inches of water in the shop… we never had something like this happen. It has been years,” she said. “We had to raise the freezer because we hear the tide was coming back…but it didn’t come back.”
Meanwhile, Rondy Chung said when he awakened and went downstairs, his entire bottom flat was covered in two feet of water. He said some of his furniture and electrical equipment were damaged. “We see the water coming from the back of the house… the water was lashing over the wall so we hustle and lift up we things,” he said, adding that he was happy when workers started to fix the breach.