Frustrated residents of the Mahaica and Mahaicony creeks continue to endure rising levels of floodwater after the Maduni sluice was opened following intense rainfall one week ago.
Residents who have already lost their crops told Stabroek News yesterday that floodwaters have about “five inches more to reach the level of the 2005/2006 flood and at the rate it is coming in it would even pass that.”
According to them, “We can abide with the rainfall water because it wouldn’t go so high and it would recede fast. But the Maduni sluice is pressuring us…”
They said that the water would take about three months “to come off the land and then we have to wait until the place dry properly before we start cultivating again. By time that the May/June rain gon come on we again.”
The residents pointed out that the sluice was opened to “save the East Coast but they [government] gat to try to save us too. They overdoing it; we bear up a lot and now we getting angry. Our water don’t go and hambug the people on the East Coast.” This is the third time in four years that the authorities have had to flood the Mahaica Creek via the Maduni outlet.
The residents whose main livelihood is rice, livestock and cash crop farming said that they invested a lot of money and are suffering tremendous losses. They said they are discouraged because “we lost the little cash crop we try fuh save before the koker opened.”
A resident of Mahaicony Creek said he “want to challenge the ministers and other officials to come and live in the creek for five years and leh me go in the cabinet and loose the water on them and see how they would feel.”
He said too that he had advised the government in 1996 to dig a canal at Hope, East Coast and between Mahaica and Mahaicony “if they been hear me we won’t a be pressurized…”
Shan Kumar, a resident of Gordon Table, Mahaicony Creek said that his ducks which he earns a living from cannot survive in the floodwaters any longer and he has had to “start killing them and share them out to friends.”
He said during the last flood about 60 ducks died for him and he decided to give the ducks away before the same thing happens. The man’s wife pointed out that “up to Monday meh kitchen was dry and today [yesterday] water pouring into it.”
When this newspaper contacted Kumar yesterday he was busy setting boards around his yard and bottom flat to avoid walking in the floodwaters.
He said he was pleased that the Mahaica,Mahaicony,Abary/Agricultural-Development-Authority (MMA/ADA) had made a dam to save the rice and cattle farmers on the right bank of the creek from the flooding. However because the koker had to be opened the dam is overflowing.
He said too that Regional Chairman, Harrinarine Baldeo had sent a medical team to the area and residents were given medicines for coughing and “I am pleased that they were prompt.”
On Monday, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud visited the two creeks and promised to provide farmers with fertilizers and planting materials. The minister also promised to assist the residents in moving their livestock to higher ground.
While the residents are grateful for the help they are also looking forward to “monetary compensation and foodstuff just to survive.”
Residents of Mahaica Creek told this newspaper that during the minister’s visit to the creek he reminded them that he had made announcements for them to take precautions because the situation was critical.
But Naresh Bhagwandeo said he responded that “you shoulda come out plain and say the sluice would be opened because we spent millions of dollars in we crops.”
He said farmers had already started to pump water off their crops and had hired machines to raise their land but had they known the water would have been released “we woulda shut down everything.”
Large-scale farmer, Haimchand Mahadeo who invested $2M in his crop to hire an excavator to build an embankment around his farm 30-acre farm said rainfall water does not flood his farm.
He had already lost his watermelon, corilla and other cultivation and is still trying desperately to save two beds of peppers and tomatoes.
Yesterday his wife told this newspaper that he had started to place mud bags on the embankment two days ago. She said most of the residents have “high houses” but they had to relocate their kitchen to the upper flat.