More areas under threat
As the rain continues so has the flooding, with the Mahaica Creek experiencing a rise of about one inch yesterday and water beginning to pour into the villages of Little Biaboo and Handsome Tree.
Residents had told this newspaper on Tuesday that the water was rising slowly in the creek despite the opening of the Maduni and Lama sluices.
They said they have checked the “mark” from the 2006 flood and have observed that the water has passed that mark. They are telling themselves that it could get worse “as long as the rain come in and the sluices remain open.”
According to them, the level had remained stable from Wednesday afternoon until yesterday. The water has started to run over the “river embankment that government made three years ago.”
They foresee that the water would keep rising and would reach an even higher level by this weekend when the high tide is expected.
They had said that the flooding was “hitting” the Abary and Mahaicony Creeks even harder and reports coming out from those areas are that the floodwaters have risen by almost two inches. Residents said they have to try “wid we lil savings and when dat finish we don’t know what we gon do. The pressure too much on we.””
Farmers have already lost all their crops and are running out of dry land and feed for their livestock. They said that at the moment their cows have to “swim to go and look for grass and they gat to be in the water all the time because we don’t have anywhere else to put them.”
They said that most people sell out the animals and that the butchers are exploiting the situation and are paying “cheap.”
Puldeo Indar, 41 of Grass Hook, Mahaica said yesterday that he depended solely on his cash crop farm to maintain his wife and three school-aged children. He said his bottom-flat was covered with about three feet of water and he and other residents have had to relocate his kitchen to the upper flat. He said this arrangement has been very inconvenient, especially for his children.
He too has lost his entire crop but has managed to secure a few days work with a large-scale cash crop farmer, Haimchand Mahadeo who is trying desperately to save about six acres out of the 30-acre plot he had invested in.
Mahadeo told this newspaper that he is currently reaping peppers from the six-acre plot and that if the floodwaters get in there he would lose all.
He had spent over $1M earlier this year to build up that section and said “rainfall water cannot flood there.” But, he said since the water was released from the East Demerara Water Conservancy, he has had to place about 500 mud bags to prevent the water from entering. He said he and his workers are labouring round-the-clock to save that section and that they have to place 200 more mud bags today.
So far his efforts have been successful but he said “the water keep threatening” and he hopes that his hard work would pay off “because if everything lost I won’t have anything [money] to get for the next four months.”
He said after President Bharrat Jagdeo’s visit to the area on Monday an assessment was conducted on the farmers’ losses.
A woman of the Mahaicony Creek said that she badly wants to move out of the creek with her husband and three children who are under eight years. She said she applied three times for a house lot and she is not getting any response.
“The president said he would make a canal but by the time it finish we would get flood about two or three times more and is more punishment fuh we,” she said. “Me children not getting to go to school… Right now most people in here getting sick.” She was pleased that the medical team visited the area and provided treatment to her family.
Black Bush Polder
Meanwhile, over at Black Bush Polder (BBP) farmers are happy that the floodwaters have receded following efforts by regional officials. They said most farmers have lost all their cash crops.
They were promised seeds to replant and four hours of excavation work which some persons have already started to benefit from. The farmers said they did not have “money to go back on the crop” and were glad for financial assistance.
According to the farmers their land is still slushy and they have to wait a while for it to dry out before they can start planting again. Meantime they are being affected by mosquitoes.
They are also having a hard time finding grass for their livestock but said they have received supplements from government.
Price for vegetables
As a result of the flooding the prices for vegetables in East and West Berbice have skyrocketed. Some housewives said they are paying $100 for one boulanger, $100 for six boras, $200 per pound for ochro and $200 for a small squash. There has also been an increase in prices for other vegetables.
Vendors told this newspaper that the increase was mostly as a result of the flooding at BBP. They said they depended on farmers from that area to supply them with the vegetables and now they have to pay a higher price to buy elsewhere.