Recurring floods continue to torment Albouystown residents

With heavy showers over the past two days, Albouystown residents are once again battling with floodwaters largely due to the damaged Sussex Street koker.

When Stabroek News visited the site of the koker on Tuesday, water could be seen pouring from underneath even though the koker was closed.

Some residents were angry while others are frustrated and resigned. One resident angrily shouted that Albouystown needed a boat to deal with the floods.

The recurring flooding affects both residents, including children, and businesses in the area. According to residents, each day they are forced to clean their homes after the floodwater, which sometimes reaches six inches in height, has receded. Residents have been forced to break down fences and run boards through yards to form makeshift bridges.

A cyclist pedals through flooded streets of Albouystown.
A cyclist pedals through flooded streets of Albouystown.

Michael Gomes, 34, reported that three of his four children have suffered from diarrhoea and vomiting.

Two of his younger sisters have also been affected. Since the flooding began months ago, his children’s school attendance has declined, especially when the flooding is particularly bad.

Mark Xavier, a fish vendor in the area, said that he has not been able to earn an income for months due to the flooding. Xavier depends on his vending and is in a lot of debt due to his unemployment.

Some residents said that the problem with the koker is exacerbated by the large amounts of garbage in the area that clog the drains. Some suggested that digging the trench could help deal with the problem.

When asked about the garbage problem in the community, Mayor Hamilton Green, in a telephone interview with Stabroek News, laid the blame at the feet of the Town Clerk Carol Sooba. According to Green, Sooba has repeatedly gone against the decisions made by the City Council by refusing to reinstate the contracts of waste disposal services, Cevon’s and Dartmouth Contracting Services.

Sooba had previously reported to Stabroek News that the services of the two firms had been terminated due to unsatisfactory performances by the contractors.

Sooba’s claims of poor performance by the contracting services were echoed by a resident of Albouystown. The resident, who owns S. Khan’s Hardware Store in Albouystown, said that the contractors would clean only those areas where their associates live. According to the businessman, he has been forced to pay from $10,000 to $12,000 to have his drains cleaned by the contractors hired by the City Council.

These young boys are forced each day to walk through the water to their home.
These young boys are forced each day to walk through the water to their home.

However, Ronald Turner, Chairman of the True Vision Foundation, a community-based organisation in Albouystown, opined that before anything can be done in terms of cleaning of the drains and alleyways in Albouystown, the Sussex Street canal has to be desilted. According to Turner, the silt in the canal is higher than the silt in the drains and alleyways and flows down into the community when the water rises.

The removal of garbage is only one aspect of the problem though; the larger issue remains the broken koker. Meanwhile, some residents of Albouystown called for compensation for their losses.

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