Floodwaters have risen to about one foot in areas along the Mahaica and Mahaicony creeks, dampening the spirits of residents who waited in vain for the water to start receding.
Residents have already lost all of their cash crops and their livestock are dying and they told this newspaper that they were shocked that the water was still rising although the rains have eased.
Their yards and gardens were covered with knee-deep water and “boats reaching up to we steps,” they said. They added that although Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud had told them that the flooding was an effect of the spring tide, they remain convinced that the water was still being released from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) via the Maduni and Lama sluices.
“The water coming in even when the tide falling,” they said. According to them, “it seems as though they close the sluice for about three hours and it then they open it again. Right now all over shine [with water]; we just seeing one and two high spots….”
Naraindatt (only name) of Pine Ground, Mahaicony Creek told Stabroek News his 32 acres of rice in the area and 37 acres at More Point have been submerged. He said he has spent a lot of money in a desperate bid to pump the water out and save his crop. Government has also assisted him with 45 gallons of fuel on two occasions but he said that was still not enough.
Sundarlall Arjune, a cattle and poultry farmer, has already lost six calves as a result of the inundation. His 1,800 hassars, valued over $200,000, which he was rearing in three ponds, have also escaped. He is seeking compensation for his losses with his business as well as the tiles in his kitchen that the floodwaters destroyed.
He was happy that Minister Persaud visited with a team including veterinarians that took in drugs for the cattle. He said that the vets returned to the area on Monday but both times the supply of drugs was limited and not all of the farmers benefited. The man pointed out that the calves are affected by “worms” and the ministry needs to treat them for that problem as well.
Another resident, Rohan Shivdayal said his goat pen is under water and he has had to move the animals to safety far away from home. He said they are left unprotected and persons are stealing them. He also said that his goats were not getting enough feed and would get sick and die. He made a request for government to treat the animals and supply “building-up” for them. The flood has also caused the 1,100 hassars he was rearing in a pond to escape.
Amaldass Ramdass, of Big Biaboo, Mahaica Creek, told Stabroek News that he initially lost his two-acre watermelon crop. He had hopes of saving his two acres each of peppers and bora, three acres of sucker and 280 fruit trees but on Sunday he watched helplessly as hard labour and livelihood went down the drain.
He said too that all the other farmers in the area suffered similar losses. “We ain‘t gat no cash crop left in hey now. Some people already reaped out the little the lil bit they coulda save.”
Ramdass said the water level rose to above knee in the farms and over one and a half feet under some residents’ homes.