Mahaica flood higher than ‘06 – residents

Faced with the prospect of a drawn-out flood, residents living along the banks of the Mahaica and Mahaicony creeks are bracing themselves as high levels of water remain on the land and Mahaica residents say that the current flood has surpassed that of 2006.

In the Mahaica Creek area, the water level was rising every day as the Maduni outlet from the East Demerara Water Conservancy remained open, this newspaper was told. It has now surpassed flood levels experienced in 2006, which was the highest residents said that they had ever experienced in recent times.  In Mahaicony, the water level appeared to have stopped rising and remains at the same level, a resident of Gordon Table told this newspaper yesterday. The authorities were forced to open the Maduni outlet as the level in the EDWC had risen alarmingly. This is the third time in four years the Mahaica Creek has been flooded with water from the EDWC.

At Big Baiboo, Naresh Bhagwandeo said that the water on the land is rising by about an inch every day and in some areas was over six feet on the land. He stated that in some places, the water was now running over the De Hoop road and entering rice fields on the other side. He said that at his home, the water was about two and a half feet to three feet high and “we getting more water”. He related that the Indian Arrival Committee (IAC) had visited the community on Saturday and distributed food hampers. The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) had done the same on that day, he added.

The rising water levels have affected more rice farmers and they are “starting to feel it more now”, he declared. He said that water was beginning to pour into other areas that had been relatively unaffected. The farmer asserted that the situation was “sheer stress”. Asked about shelters, set up by the CDC for affected residents, he said that while he did not know of it, in his opinion, persons would prefer house lots to move out of the area entirely because the flooding was an “ongoing something”.

Hemchand Mahadeo also of Big Baiboo had been desperately trying to save a portion of his farm that was on high ground but was overwhelmed by the rising waters on Friday night. The water overtopped the embankment that he built and also washed it away. He said on the portion of land he was trying to protect there were 500 roots of corilla, 3000 sweet pepper plants, 6000 hot pepper plants, and other crops. All that has been lost now, he stated.

He noted that the CDC and the IAC had distributed food hampers in the community on Saturday and also water in plastic containers which appeared to be “pipe water” and contained “red crumbs”, which he did not use. He expressed his frustration noting that it would take several months before they can reap and earn some money again. “We can’t do nothing, there is nothing for us to do for the next three months”, he said adding that this was likely the time that the water would take to drain off. He said that they would have to then plant and possibly reap in three months time which he pointed out would be during the May/June rains. He declared that though the rains had eased up over the past two days, the water was “very big” and kept rising. “It bigger than 2006 right now”, he asserted adding that the water was over two feet in his yard yesterday.  He stated that while he had not heard of any shelters being set up, he thought that people would prefer to remain in their homes.

In Gordon Table in the Mahaicony Creek Sita Canchu told this newspaper that the water level remained the same with water five feet on the land in some places. She said that she used her canoe to access areas like the kitchen and the pit latrine. She said too that the IAC and Minister of Public Service, Jennifer Westford had visited the area to distribute food hampers. “We are thankful for it because we don’t know how long we gon be under the water”, she said adding that “we suffer a lot”. She stated that she had heard about shelters being set up but would not go.”If you leave you house, when you come back and it empty, what you gon do?” she questioned.