Interviews by Tiffny Rhodius with photos by Jules Gibson
This week we asked the man and woman in the street whether the recent rainfall which caused flooding in parts of the city affected them and what they are doing to prepare for the upcoming May-June rainy season.
Yolanda Forde, private sector employee – ‘I was not affected really. I think people should take these things seriously and prepare for it. They should have ready equipment and first aid just in case something is to happen. As for me I am prepared for the rains.’
Sylvia Ferguson, vendor – ‘The last set of rain affected me, yes. It killed out our young plants and swamped our yard. Thank God it didn’t go in the house even though it reach up to the door mouth. I think the people are responsible for the flooding. You have to keep your surroundings clean all the time; that is the only thing that will help keep the city clean… When we flood we cannot sell our greens to the people.
‘In preparation for the rainy season, I keep my surroundings clean. We burn our rubbish by the side of the road or in the back yard. We have to hope for the best this rainy season but how the time going we aren’t going to get a flood.’
Bibi Sherida Ferguson, vendor – ‘Where I live [East Coast] the recent rain affected us very badly. Every time it rains we always flood. I used to mind chickens, but not any more; I had to stop because of the flooding. And I don’t see why we are flooding when we have two sluices. The Belfield one, like it does not drain off the water. The other one is the Hope sluice. Sometimes when rain falls the water don’t run off until four or six weeks later.
‘We don’t have proper drainage. We need better drainage systems and there are some people who don’t want to help themselves; they are depending on the government. There is nothing that I can really do to stop the rain from falling. To me every time you build up, the water coming higher next time, I fed up building. I expect a lot of rain. Last Thursday two days after [the rain], the water drained off. I think that things need to be put in place to assist people this rainy season, especially places that are going to flood.’
Grace, vendor – ‘Yes the water in the shop was up a good way. The water was way up. On the Wednesday it went off quickly but on Thursday it took longer to go down. I had to put my groceries on a bench since the water was actually up in the shop. The water was so high you could not see the road. Where I live we weren’t flooded as much, but what I am saying is that something needs to be done about the styrofoam that is in the drains. They should deal with that.
‘For the rainy season I’ve got to try to get my things high. I might build a platform and get some drums to store my groceries because I can’t afford to lose my stuff; things too expensive these days.’
Tacuma Ogunseye, vendor – ‘Yes the rains we had did affect me. The entire market [Kitty] was flooded and they claimed that the pumps couldn’t be used because the tide was high. But once there is heavy rain the market floods; that has been a long problem.
‘I live in Pike Street and we were flooded too. In fact, almost the entire Kitty was flooded. At least in terms of the market there is nothing that I can do to prevent flooding with the May/June rains coming; even at home I don’t think there is much we can do. All we have to do is hope it doesn’t come as heavy as anticipated.’
Shelton King, private sector employee – ‘I was affected a little when the rain fell, but I think there needs to be more drains, and the tap that supplies water to us needs to be raised since when the place floods it is covered and we have to bail out the water. Everybody has to come together to keep the drains clean and keep garbage out of the gutter, which makes the place flood. I think if the government takes the lead and helps protect the drainage then there will be less flooding.’
Rawle Burgess, self employed – ‘I think the government should start digging drains now that we are having the dry season. They should organise the people within the community and let the people in the villages clean their drains. Further if the government sees rubbish in people’s yards they should summons them or something. That I think is one solution to deal with the garbage which gets in the drains.
‘I was affected a lot when the rain fell and since I’ve been living here in Sophia we are always affected by the rain. The government should develop a system where the people at least should take responsibility for the cleaning of their community.
‘As for preparing for the rainy season I try to buy a couple loads of mud to build up the yard, but the people not only the government, should do more to prevent this flooding.’
Shawn, private sector employee – ‘Actually I live up the Highway so we did not get flooded, but I have family who were. Raising the yard is one solution, but that calls for some finance. My opinion is that people here are suffering a lot because the place is really low.’
Rajin, public sector employee – ‘Yes we get flooded last week and the water took a little time to run off. I am not sure if to expect flooding, but when the rainy season starts then we are going to know what it will be. Since the last flood in 2005 we built up our yard and build blockages at the doors so water wouldn’t get in.’
Rakesh Singh, Annandale resident – ‘Where I am living I was flooded, and I had to live with the water in my home until it ran off. I rent a place so what I am doing is looking for a place where I will not be affected. From what I see the drains need to be de-silted; that is the main thing I see contributing to the flood.’