Rainfall, high tides leave several East Coast villages under water

Two students from the Vryheid’s Lust Primary School walk along the makeshift bridge to get into school. (Photo by Keno George)

Several areas along the East Coast Demerara remained heavily flooded yesterday, following heavy rainfall on Thursday, compounded by high tides.

Stabroek News visited the communities from Industry all the way to Enmore where a number of yards in various villages were heavily inundated.

While a heavy downpour started around 2.30 pm on Thursday and lasted a little over an hour, East Coast residents explained that it wasn’t until yesterday morning when they awakenedthat they discovered their yards heavily flooded. There was more rainfall on Thursday night but not as much as there had been during the afternoon.

At Felicity, Indrawattie Mohammed explained that she went to bed with “a little water covering the yard” and woke up to her entire bottom-flat apartment flooded.

“I don’t know is what exactly happen. The rain fall nuff, nuff yesterday [Thursday] but it didn’t flood so bad and is when I wake up and I come off me bed and put me foot on the ground that I realize it flood out,” the woman said.

She pointed out that while she had not suffered any major damage, some of her furniture was damaged and she had to endure the floodwater, which was receding very slowly, and the discomfort it brought to her.

“It ain’t got much I could do right now. I got to bear through it and do my work cause it not going down. Is already half the day and it ain’t gone nowhere yet,” she added.

Mohammed’s neighbours’ yards were also under heavy water. One woman explained that she had to relocate “about 20 something chickens” inside her house because of the amount of water.

Mohammed also said that she has several dozen chickens at the back of her yard but could not check on them because of the amount of water that had accumulated. “I don’t know if they dead or not because I can’t go at the back there. It too deep so I just have to wait,” the woman explained.

At Vryheid’s Lust, the primary school compound was completely flooded. Students were forced to use a makeshift bridge, made from long wooden planks to enter and exit the learning institution. One parent related that the school has been in that condition since Thursday and the water “doesn’t seem like it’s going down.”

Of all the communities along the East Coast that were flooded, Buxton seemed the hardest hit.  When Stabroek News visited the village, the southern section, which is often referred to as Buxton Backdam, was under at least two feet of water. It was difficult to distinguish between the road and the two trenches that run parallel to it, since the water had completely flowed over.

Residents said there was no major damage to personal items, but they were in a state of discomfort since they had to navigate deep water to reach the road, which was also flooded. Livestock and other animals were seen wading through the water to seek dry ground.

“We don’t have any damage cause the water didn’t come in but is just that it ain’t going away. It taking long, long and the yard and everything else flooded and you got to walk through that and endure that,” a resident of the area, who did not want to be named, told Stabroek News.

While some persons were of the opinion that the pumps in Buxton were not working, which they assumed was the main reason why the water was receding slowly, when Stabroek News checked, the two pumps were in fact working and had been working all day.

There is currently one large pump that takes water from the main canal in the area to a large basin and then another mobile pump that dumps the water over the seawall. However, according to some residents, the two pumps are inadequate and cannot deal with the volume of water.

“Look at those two pumps. One barely pumping water and look old, old and the one that throwing it over the seawall way smaller than the one that throwing it in the basin,” a concerned resident explained. Whilst his yard was not flooded, he was of the opinion that the capacity of the two pumps was not enough to deal with the village’s flooding woes.

Residents of other areas were also convinced that the pumps slated to provide relief in their areas were not working. However, when Stabroek News checked, all of the pumps were working and had been working since Thursday, according to the operators.

They explained that the sluice doors had to be closed at 1 pm yesterday and were going to be reopened after six hours because of the high tide. Once these doors are closed drainage capacity slows as it is difficult for the pumps alone to take the water off the land. “The tide comes and goes every six hours so when it opens back then more water will flow and the floodwaters will come off the land quicker,” one of the operators explained.

Meanwhile, in the city, water had receded in the central business district as well as some residential areas. Town Clerk Royston King had said on Thursday that the Mayor and City Council had so far expended more than $120 million to clean the drains and canals to ensure quick and unhindered drainage. However, this did not apply to boundary wards like Cummings Lodge as well as many areas in south Georgetown which remained inundated up to late yesterday.

 

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