Flash flood hits Mahdia after heavy rain

Another glimpse of the floods that affected residents in Mahdia yesterday (GINA Photo)

Several houses in Mahdia, Region Eight were yesterday morning under water after a night of heavy rain flooded sections of the community.

When contacted yesterday midday, Chairman of the Potaro-Siparuni region, Bonaventure Fredricks said that while the waters have already started to recede, the regional administration will continue to monitor the situation.

According to Fredricks, though the heavy rainfall was the main factor in the floods, issues of overburdened streams and creeks as well as blockages caused by sediment from surrounding mining activity also contributed to yesterday’s floods.

This, he said, resulted in roadways in some parts of Mahdia being covered in water that was approximately four feet deep; an estimated 500 homes were also affected and road access to the airstrip cut off. A mechanic shop was inundated by waters which reached three feet.

“About six to eight houses were flooded and the airstrip road is still inaccessible but we are hopeful that by night the water will recede enough to allow access,” Fredricks added.

Parts of the road going to Princeville have reportedly been washed away while a roadway at Tiger Creek in the vicinity of Sam Silly Hill is under seven feet of water.

One resident who spoke to Stabroek News said he woke up around 4 am yesterday to find water in his house and car.

“The water was really high this morning man; the bridge was covered but I see they try a thing with it so that it can be used…we home here did not suffer that much but I saw some people’s fence and toilet wash away by the water,” he shared.

Yesterday’s  flooding was not the first for Mahdia in recent years, as May 2016 had presented a similar situation when heavy rainfall compounded by a broken tailings pond in a nearby mining area caused flash flooding. As a result of this, residents in the low-lying areas of Mahdia were asked to relocate to higher ground.

The warnings of the Regional Administration it would seem were ignored by the residents, Fredricks said, before adding that the only thing they can do is once again issue the same warning and hope that it is adhered to in the wake of yesterday’s flood.

“This has been happening to us here for some years and we had asked people to relocate but they seem not to make any move,” he said.

The Chairman also related that though the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has been notified of the situation, he is confident that the situation  can be handled by the regional administration.

Nonetheless, the CDC under the leadership of Retired Colonel, Chabilall Ramsarup is said to be on the alert and prepared for any emergencies that may arise.

In addition to this, the Region is also looking to undertake emergency drainage works to relieve the condition as it continues to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, Minister of State Joseph Harmon during yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing said the government is aware of the situation and at that time was awaiting a situation report from the CDC as well as its proposed action plan.

“We are looking at that situation, as you know we have a national watch on weather and all emergencies are being done by the CDC. They will give us a situation report and their reaction to it. We will see what information comes out but what I can tell you is that the CDC has prepositioned supplies from the CDC in some of these areas, Mahdia being one and Orinduik being the other so that if anything happens in those area that needs heavy lifting, there is what we call pre dumping or a forward logistics base established where initial response can occur,” he added.

Additionally, the Minister noted that both the CDC and the Guyana People’s Militia have engaged residents in communities across Guyana in in first-responder training, which would help alleviate the potential burden that could fall on the CDC during a disaster.

“There are persons who are residents in these communities that they provide training in first response, first aid response to persons who are affected by flooding or fire or any such thing so that they can be on the ground and respond very quickly and so that all would be needed thereafter is supplies to be brought to affected communities,” Harmon shared.

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