Barnwell residents call for relief from flooding

Residents of Barnwell North, Mocha Arcadia are calling on the relevant authorities to address the various concerns affecting their community, especially the constant flooding.

Roland Sam, who has been living in the area for the last13 years, told Stabroek News that a pump was needed at the Number Three canal to get the water out of the area.

 The roads that residents in Barnwell have to use daily
The roads that residents in Barnwell have to use daily

He said that the flooding was a constant problem and that they have been complaining for the longest while without getting a proper response from the relevant authorities.  Sam said that everyone in the community needs to have a pair of long boots to manoeuvre through the impassable roads and deep flood waters.

“This [depth] is not water yet in my yard, you need to go down to them fields at the back and you gon feel is a canal in them yards,” he said. A visit to the community by this newspaper on Thursday revealed that almost every yard was flooded and the impact of the flooding on the crops was evident.

Another resident in the area said that the constant flooding is affecting all of the residents badly, since almost everyone in the area either farms or rears chicken.  She told this newspaper that her yard had been flooded for the past week and she did not see any sign that it will recede anytime soon. She said that they are always finding snakes and other dangerous animals in her yard, and not having any electricity makes it difficult for them to catch these animals at night. She added that they are forced to spend lots of money on gas to run their generators and those who cannot afford it, are left in the dark or have to resort to candles and lamps. “Imagine in this day and age, the basic necessities we can’t get. A lot of people does got to be using lamp when the night come. Them children does got to study before nightfall because the area has no electricity. It is tough on us and especially tough on them,” she said.

Roland Sam points to his flooded yard in Third Field, Barnwell
Roland Sam points to his flooded yard in Third Field, Barnwell

Sam said that since he had been living in the area, the residents have been calling for proper roads, electricity and potable water, but their cries have fallen on deaf ears. He said that residents are forced to use the ubiquitous black tanks and depend on the rain to fill these up. He also said that there are only three stand pipes in the area, all located in the first field, whereas there are over twenty more fields at the back of Barnwell. “They put three stand pipes in first field in close proximity to each other. That ain’t make no sense at all. People in dem fields at the back does have to get water to cook and wash and they does have to go to the canal or depend on the rain water.”

Sam related that when the area is not flooded, in the dry seasons there is severe drought and their crops suffer, because there is no access to water when all the trenches are dried up. He said that this forces them to limit their planting during the dry season, putting them under severe economic strain.

Another resident told Stabroek News that the deplorable state of the roads is putting financial pressure on them because the minibuses and taxis do not want to come into the area and as such they are forced to fetch their heavy loads all the way down the road, or pay donkey carts.

A resident said that the water was coming from the Diamond area and the pump was greatly needed so that the water can run off of the land. “They say how is $20M they spending every year on drainage in Barnwell and we are not seeing anything like that”, he said.

The previous Saturday, a team from the AFC had visited the area and convened an impromptu public meeting on the dam to assess the community’s immediate needs. Residents said that they needed five key things in the area: potable water, a better access road, electricity, drainage and irrigation.

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