Water is currently being released through the Lama as well as the Maduni sluice and residents in the Mahaica Creek said while the level is rising slowly there flooding is “hitting” the Mahaicony and Abary Creeks even harder.
The Maduni sluice was the first to be opened following intense rainfall two weeks ago which resulted in the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) being at a threatening level.
This newspaper understands that the Lama sluice was supposed to be closed yesterday if the rain had eased; unfortunately it had not. The Maduni sluice on the other hand, would remain open “until the level is safe.”
During a visit to the Mahaica Creek on Monday, President Bharrat Jagdeo was confronted by residents about why they were not informed that the sluices were opened. They also questioned him as to why the National Drainage & Irrigation Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture only admitted after it was published in this newspaper that residents had videoed the opened sluice as “proof.”
The president responded that notices were placed on television for residents to be on the alert. The residents further challenged him that “telling people to be on the alert and telling them that it (the sluice) was opened is not the same…”
The president announced when he visited the three creeks on Monday that some $3B would be spent to dig a canal at Hope that would drain the water from the EDWC to the Atlantic instead of through the creeks.
He said it is a “short distance from the conservancy to the Atlantic and if it is wide enough it can take a lot of the water out.”
Residents were pleased with government’s step to reduce the flooding situation but said it should have been done a long time ago. They said too that they did not want the creeks to remain a “drainage canal.”
The Mahaica Creek residents who earn a living mainly through cash crop and rice farming as well as livestock rearing, suffered severe losses to the flood after the water level started to rise. The farmers are running out of dry land for their livestock which have started to dwindle.
On Monday, a few cows and horses that were brought out of the creek were spotted searching for food in rice fields in an area in front of the Abary Creek, much to the annoyance of the rice farmers.
President Jagdeo promised the farmers that he would assist them with planting materials, fertilizer and some fuel to replant their crops after the rainy season. He said too that the Civil Defence Commission would be providing food hampers to poor families.
He also assured the cash crop farmers of the Mahaica Creek that they would be given some financial assistance. While the residents were grateful, a few large-scale farmers said they had expected to be compensated more because of the extent of their loss.
However the president said that he could not provide any more money as recompense because of the amount that would be spent to dig the canal.
Some parents also told the president that as a result of losing their livelihood they could not afford to send their children to schools on the coast. He then promised to assist with transportation costs until the flood is over.
Further the Head of State committed to providing funds to fix about 1200 ft. of the access dam at Big Biaboo that is in a deplorable condition and to build the embankment at the front of the creek from Big Biaboo to Grass Hook.
Residents also made a request for tubes to be placed along the Region Four embankment – on the left bank of the creek – as the excavator “dig in front of the houses and did not put tubing and it blinding the trenches.” But the president said he did not have money for that.
Meanwhile over at the Mahaicony Creek the water level has risen even more and was still flowing over to the villages of Wash Clothes and Mortice.