East Coast residents seeking help for post-flood sanitisation

As floodwaters slowly recede, residents of affected villages along the East Coast of Demerara want help for critical sanitisation.

Affected residents told Stabroek News that they have decided to start cleaning their surroundings since the stench left after the flooding is unbearable and some persons are becoming sick.

In some cases, it was claimed that residents were suffering from “ground itch” after walking around in the floodwaters without any protective gear.

According to Indra (only name given), a resident of Felicity, although the water is draining from the land, it is not the end of her family’s plight. She explained that because of the stench left behind, they had to purchase large bottles of disinfectant to clean their home.

However, she stressed that the little they bought is not making much difference as some parts of her yard are still waterlogged, resulting in the stench lasting longer. “Right now, we are willing to accept any assistance from people or the government to help us get rid of this smell,” she said.

Another resident of Felicity, Joyce (only name given), also called for sanitisation packages. “We need a lot of assistance because we cannot afford to buy all the time. Sometimes this water stay in the yard for two weeks and the smell is unbearable…,” she stressed.

Tony Barth, of Buxton, one of the heavily-affected communities, also made a similar call. “We have children and this is the serious part here, we cannot have them in this water because it is stink and filled with diseases… we cannot have the children playing in the water,” he said, while adding that the government should hand out sanitation packages to help residents sanitise their yards.

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, during a visit to Buxton last Saturday, had said that he would be contacting the Civil Defence Commission to distribute sanitisation packages to communities that are affected.

The southern section of Buxton remains heavily affected despite having four pumps assisting with drainage. Residents said they have noticed the water levels dropping moderately. Yesterday, this newspaper noticed the pumps were in operation but according to the pump attendants they only began operating yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, with the spring tide in effect, residents of Good Hope and Felicity have said that they are experiencing a rise in water levels during the high tide periods.

The spring tide remains in effect until tomorrow, according to the hydromet office.

Indra said the water rises in the afternoon when the tide changes. She noted that while her cleaning seems in vain, she is nevertheless doing it to prevent a buildup of mud.

Joyce also told this newspaper that the water has been dropping “lil bit, lil bit but when the tide returns we get back flood again.”

However, she called on the relevant authorities to engage in cleaning the canals responsible for draining her community. “I don’t know when last they cleaned the trenches. Long ago, we never used to get flood like this but since the canals get blocked up, we getting flood,” she added.

Meanwhile, Good Hope resident Jameir Mohammad Ali said he lost all his crops in the flood. He explained that he was reaping bora, squash, callaloo, and boulanger from his farm when the flood hit. The farmer estimated his losses to be around $300,000 and he said he is willing to accept any form of assistance offered by the government. “This is not the first time I get flood but I never receive any assistance from the government. All over you see they give people but they always pass my farm, stop and ask how bad I am affected but never give any assistance. I am always willing to accept because it is not easy to start from fresh,” he stressed.

During a visit to flood-affected communities, Stabroek News observed that the water levels have dropped significantly in Good Hope and Felicity, Beterverwagting and the water has completely gone in La Bonne Intention (LBI), Atlantic Ville, and Industry.

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