Several homes at Helena #2, Mahaica, were flooded on Friday after water overtopped the Mahaica Creek dam which has sunk over the years.
“Is about eight inches of water and I living here for more than 30 years and is the first time that it happened to me,” Lall (only name given), a resident of the area, said. The flood was believed to have been caused by exceptionally high tides.
Lall explained to Stabroek News yesterday that early Friday, he woke around 2am to use the washroom and when he placed his feet on the ground, he was astonished after he was greeted by about eight inches of water.
The yards were flooded because the dam wall that was built to prevent water from overflowing onto the land had drastically shrunk in height. “A contractor de working over the wall some years ago and I don’t know what happen but ever since the wall started to slowly move and go down and that is where the water flow over from,” Lall explained.
He said because of the sudden overflow of water, they could not prepare. Residents did not have any indication that the overtopping would have happened since it has never occurred before, he said. “It damage the carpet, fridge bottom, freezer and some goods that were on the ground and is every tide it raising,” the man said. He related that since Friday, the water has risen every day, early in the morning, and recedes as the hours go by.
“It was a lot of water. The whole width of the yard was flooded and every morning it just coming and going back. Watch all in the shop it went and we had to plant salt bag there but that ain’t do nothing because of the amount of water,” the man added.
Lall’s neighbour Kamal Persaud also related a similar experience of waking up to a flooded home. Unlike Lall, Persaud suffered more losses as he had more valuable objects on the ground. “I didn’t even know that water had flooded my house on Friday. Is he [Lall] de come and knock on my window and telling me that the whole place flood out and that is when I jump off me bed and into water,” Persaud explained. He said the flood damaged his television which was on the ground at the time as he had only recently moved into the house. His sofa and other furniture, clothes and goods were also on the ground.
“I even got a boat engine that is practically new on the ground and I don’t know if it working still cause it de deh in the water and I ain’t get to take it to the workshop yet,” Persaud said. He recalled that in an effort to get the water out of his house, he had to make holes in the wall and prop up sandbags in an effort to block the water from seeping in. “Is me and he [Lall] went the other day to get sandbags but we didn’t even get enough sand to put in the bags so it was lil bags that didn’t even do nothing,” Persaud explained.
The two men said they raised the issue with the Unity/Vereeniging Neigbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) and related that they needed assistance with procuring sand and sandbags but were only given promises.
“We asking he [the councillor who is responsible for the area] for help with the sandbags and he saying all the time that it coming, it coming and it ain’t reach yet,” one explained. He said while they expect another flood, they are not prepared for it and the most they can do is hoist their furniture and goods above the ground to prevent further damage.
Another resident explained that the water overflowed so much that it ran onto the road and flooded it. The woman explained that the entire stretch of dam needs to be fixed since she would usually have water coming into her yard. However, it has never reached the level seen on Friday. “Well is normal and we accustomed to it but it never get like this before.
Look they even got cracks in the dam that the water does run through easy, easy but I accustomed to it so me ain’t got nothing on the ground to damage,” the woman explained.
The councillor for the area, Atamdeo Persaud of the PPP/C, told Stabroek News that while the NDC is aware of the situation, there is not much that they can do. “Is not like anything break because it was overtopping and we [NDC] reported it to the region and (the Ministry of) Public Infrastructure,” he said. The NDC official stated that even if they procure sandbags, it would not make a drastic difference to the flooding and at the moment, they are not necessary. He added that the regional representatives explained to them that they would have visited the area yesterday to assess the situation.
On May 3rd, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure urged all necessary precautions during the spring tides period of May 3, 2016 to May 11, 2016. It said that the Sea and River Defence Department considered the following areas to be particularly susceptible to possible flooding as a result of storm surges which may induce overtopping of sea/river defence structures:
Johanna Cecelia/Zorg, Charity & along Pomeroon River Banks
Zeelandia/Moor Farm, Marionville/Bendorff, Good Success/ Sarah – Wakenaam Island
Thierens/Success, Maryville, Cane Field/Amsterdam, Endeavour/Blenheim – Leguan Island
Crane to Ruimzigt; Anna Catherina to Leonora, W.C.D; Belle Vue, W.B.D; Look Out, Salem/Sparta, E.B.E
Water Street, Georgetown; Kingston, Georgetown to Ogle, E.C.D
In addition to the mentioned locations, it said that all persons residing along the banks of rivers and low lying coastal areas are advised to take all the necessary precautions against possible flooding. It gave the following contact Telephone Nos. 226-0650, 226 -1070, 226-4368, 619-3552, 654-4226, 654-4227, 662-4927.