Flood-hit East Bank residents facing ‘black Christmas’

From left, Gordon Simmons and Vashti Fredericks.

Christmas is just a few days away and some flood affected residents of Nandy Park, Peter’s Hall and Providence are quite convinced that for them, it will be a grim one.

In early October, the door of the sluice that serves the three communities gave away under high tides, owing to poor maintenance by the relevant authorities.

Government recently announced that it had earmarked $11 million for relief for the victims, but some say it cannot suffice and are convinced that it will be a black Christmas for them as they are finding it difficult to cope with their day-to-day lives after the flood.

When Stabroek News visited the areas yesterday, Providence resident Zalena Mohammed was cooking on a fireside while her damaged stove served as a bench in her back yard.

“Me nah get Christmas, me nah even feel the Christmas spirit yet,” she said. “This flood damage everything for me. Me fridge damage, my chair water soak and me plywood wall in de house swell up and ah fall off, bai meh nah got Christmas. Is best meh bear meh strain and see what come sah (will) do. ”

Further down the road, Carnegie student Amanda Kissoon lamented: “All my money I save for the year I had to spend back on carpet because de flood and all de mud damage everything. Christmas? Wha I gun tell you? Is a black one. I send my chair to cover over after it bin damage and I hope I get it back before Christmas eve, so in case meh family come they can get to sit down. I can’t even bake a cake, the oven damage.”

In Peter’s Hall, Gordon Simmons was relaxing in his hammock chatting with his neighbour Vashti Fredericks.

“I don’t have a Christmas. Since the flood, I sleeping on two barrels so it can’t be a merry Christmas for me. All I can do is hopefully eat something merry and mek sure my family deh lil happy. The government got to deliver man. De money dem offering is not substantial. I don’t have nothing in my house, not even a chair. Christmas this year black, not brown.” Simmons said.

Vashti Fredericks expressed her anguish by saying, “Nobody here can say they have Christmas here, how can people have Christmas?… The president talking about how Guyanese should have a good Christmas, wha kind a good Christmas? When them can’t come up yet. Them living good with them ac rooms and thing and we punishing. They got this Christmas like this man, everybody punishing. People here sleeping on floor, Christmas dead…”

From left, Gordon Simmons and Vashti Fredericks.
From left, Gordon Simmons and Vashti Fredericks.

Another resident of Peter’s Hall, Georgia Marks told Stabroek News that she is frustrated and is moving out of the area to spend Christmas with her parents in Berbice saying that she cannot stay in the village because the place has “no spirit”.

“Place dead, since the flood my fridge damage and I can’t keep meat nothing. I ask a lady to keep some pepperpot meat for me and she send it back this morning and say how she fridge full… Other people will enjoy Christmas but here everybody mourning over wha dem lost. I don’t know what to say, if wasn’t for de flood I think everybody woulda been better off. The money to replace all dem furniture and suh shorten the Christmas money. I going to my mother and father house so I can get away lil bit from this place. I hope the government do something proper soon,” Marks said.

Georgia Marks’ damaged mattress hanging on her neighbour’s fence.
Georgia Marks’ damaged mattress hanging on her neighbour’s fence.

 

Some damaged household items stacked up in a corner of Zalena Mohammed’s house.
Some damaged household items stacked up in a corner of Zalena Mohammed’s house.

 

 

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