Breaches of dams along the Pomeroon River in Region Two, coupled with continuous heavy rainfall has caused severe flooding in the area with farmers being the most affected.
This is according to Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt, who in a telephone interview with Stabroek News said the Regional Administration is working assiduously to monitor the situation.
Additionally, on Monday, a team comprising the Regional Executive Officer (REO), councillors from the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Regional Engineer, as well as, engineers from the Region’s Sea Defence Department and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and Ramdatt, visited villages along the Pomeroon River, after learning of increased levels of water in the river.
“The Pomeroon is basically divided into two parts, the Lower and Upper Pomeroon and what we found is that indeed that there were several breaches along the river dam that has cause flooding in some areas… We also visited some schools where head teachers’ reported a decrease in the number of students who attended school on Monday,” the Chairman said.
“There were persons, both students and other adults from one village, reported that their yards and so are flooded in the Lower Pomeroon area… Indeed they have been hit severely by the floods,” he added.
Ramdatt further related that one farmer he spoke to complained about losing over 800 avocado plants, as a result of the water that covered his farm.
Meanwhile, businesswoman and farmer Vilma Da Silva, from Marlborough in the Lower Pomeroon, told Stabroek News that she had to suspend her farm operations, as a consequence of the river overtopping its banks.
But though she has paused her operations, Da Silva said she still has to support her farm hands and provide them with meals until operations are up and running again.
“The whole Pomeroon flood…schools yards are flooded and there is an area where children use the river dam to walk, but because of the high tide they could not go to school because the little roadway they use to use is now covered,” she shared.
“But it’s not just the rains you know, the mouth of the Pomeroon River is very much silted and we are dealing with spring tide as well,” the woman added.
Similar sentiments were shared by Alvin (only name given), a resident of Grant Burn Bush/ Profit in the Lower Pomeroon River.
“With the recent big rain we ain’t get a pull off yet…the water high in the river and so the water in getting to drain off the land yet,” the man said.
“Me whole bottom house flood out and thing man… we can’t get to work on the farms or anything and we ain’t know the impact of the water on the crops them yet, we just waiting for the water to run off to see how much was damaged,” he added. Like those in the Pomeroon, residents in Charity are also dealing with floodwaters, which according to the Regional Chairman is due to several reasons, including silted trenches and drains, as well as poor river defence in the Charity area.
“The other thing is that the Charity area is also flooded and that is due to one, the heavy rainfall, and the silt in the trenches and drains, but I think what complicated things is that the Charity River dam water was overriding it,” Ramdatt related. “We were there yesterday, before going into the Pomeroon to ensure that sandbags were placed to prevent water from overtopping,” he added.
The Chairman further noted that he had, via email, communicated the issue to Minster of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, however he has not yet received a response.
“I had asked Minister Patterson since early June to look into the situation because a contract was awarded to do rehabilitation and upgrading works to the river dam, but up to now the contractor has not yet mobilized anything and so water was coming over,” Ramdatt explained.
A similar situation was reported in Good Hope, where a tree fell into the Supenaam Creek and damaged a portion of the road there, the Chairman told Stabroek News, adding that another email had been sent to the Minister five days ago highlighting the issue.
“This road is actually very close to the Supenaam Creek and we know that there are persons presently working there to ensure that the area is sealed off. But to be very honest I am very disappointed in the two cases because I have communicated to the Minister via email to have the two cases attended to, but have not yet received a response,” he added.
In the meantime, a report by the Regional Engineer will be compiled and submitted to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure for review.
“The issues with the River dam is not the responsibility of the RDC, but that of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure… The region is going to compile a more informed report to be submitted to the Minister of Public Infrastructure, so that the Minister can make the necessary representation with this cabinet colleagues,” Ramdatt explained.
In addition to this, the Chairman said that the RDC, based on recent assessments, will be looking at the potential impact of the floods.
“We have to make sure that we monitor much closer as it relates to how farmers are affected and the implications as it relates to health…Ours is a task to provide a report on the situation as it relates to how the floods and the levels of water would have affected persons and we have communicated that to the RDC as they would usually call for regular updates,” he added.