As the floodwaters at Kwakwani recede, there are growing concerns about extensive damage to the waterfront roads being traversed by heavy vehicles.
Like other parts of the country, communities along the Upper Berbice River have experienced varied levels of flooding. Hardest hit among those communities was Kwakwani, where the river had overflowed its banks, sending waters as high as twelve feet rushing onto the Waterfront and Lamp Island areas.
While there are signs of the water beginning to recede, normalcy remains far out of sight. Along the waterfront, another problem is imminent as the road is being threatened by heavy vehicles.
Regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo said that residents have raised their concerns about the road with his office and have made several suggestions for its rectification. “The level of water has receded a bit so they are still able to traverse this road but residents are concerned about the damage that is likely to be done to the road,” said Mingo.
He said that trucks are traversing the road with lumber and timber on route to the Edwards crossing. This is the lone route to cross the Berbice River in the Kwakwani area and is being used by all weight-classes of vehicles. Mingo said that the Kwak-wani Neighbourhood Demo-cratic Council (NDC) has intervened and had requested the privately owned barge/ ferry service to re-locate and also approached the companies who are responsible for the trucks to desist from using the road for a while.
“What he is saying (the owner of the ferry service) is that because the water is beginning to recede he is finding it difficult at that location for the trucks and other vehicles to be loaded on to the barge,” Mingo explained.
At the behest of the NDC, a decision was taken to approach the local RUSAL subsidiary to explore the possibility of dredging the river, especially at the loading area so that the barge could be accommodated. Should this be realized, the heavy trucks and other vehicles would not have to traverse the main section of the waterfront road which is currently threatened.
It is anticipated that with this in place, necessary repairs to the road can be facilitated before traffic resumes fully.
Information out of the area says that the owner of the ferry service has been cooperating with the NDC and as recent as yesterday trucks were boarding the barge from the crushing plant area, eliminating the use of the waterfront road. Persons said that the water has completely receded from the road, which is completely accessible by residents and small vehicles.
This cannot be said for the Lamp Island area, where the water continues to be high. Stabroek News understands that the regional authorities are conducting weekly medical outreaches and have not slackened their monitoring systems. They said that daily reports are being fed to the local regional authorities from the hospital there.
Residents are watching out for mosquito infestation, and likely effects from diseases that might surface from overflowing pit latrines and septic tanks. “We have a very good, vigilant Deputy REO (regional executive officer) in the person of Mr. Bremner and he is showing great initiative and staying ahead of the game,” said a resident.
In the meantime, the affected communities along the Berbice River continue to receive relief support. The most recent came from the Civil Defence Commission. “Last week, a number of packaged goods were sent in for the residents of Kwakwani for Lamp Island and those at the Water Front,” said a resident. The goods were sent to Linden and the regional authorities assumed the responsibility of transporting and distributing to the targeted residents.
On the other end of the region at Rockstone, which is on the Essequibo River, reports are that the water there has also begun to show signs of receding. Mingo said that the regional council, in collaboration with a faith based organisation, has provided residents with a quantity of water tanks for the storing of wholesome water for domestic purposes. The tanks were placed at strategic parts of the community and are expected to be filled with rain water, treated and utilised sparingly by residents.
The area was also visited by the regional health team and like other flood-hit communities in the region there has not been a recorded increase in water-borne diseases.
Unlike previous rainy seasons, the regional council has not been in receipt of reports of flooding in communities up the Demerara River, including Muritaro, Malali, Hururu and other communities.