Black Bush Polder farmers say they have lost several hundred head of cattle over the past week, mainly as a result of the flood water which is currently lodged in Cookrite Savannah, Black Bush Polder.
The farmers are of the belief that the pumps in the nearby areas: Eversham and Number 43 Village, Corentyne are not fully functioning, hence the area is still flooded. According to the cattle owners, they are losing almost twenty head of cattle per day. They noted that the animals have nothing to eat due to the area being heavily flooded.
Approximately 40 farmers occupy that specific savannah, some of whom told Stabroek News that about 1,000 acres of land are currently under water. The farmers explained that in total, they have several hundred head of cattle, along with goats, sheep and horses.
Peter Crawford, who has about 600 head of cattle, stated that so far he has lost about 150. Another farmer, Compton Green, claimed that of his ten horses and 400 head of cattle, 60 head of cattle and two horses have already died, as a direct result of the flood. His brother, Nico Green is missing some fifty head of his 200-strong herd of cattle. The man is fearful that the missing cattle might have already died, since he does not see how they could have survived in such circumstances.
Meanwhile, Reynard Drapaul who has 400 cows, said that since the flood about 50 cows have died, while the others are presently suffering. According to Sultan Munroe, the younger animals are the ones which are being affected the most. He shared that he has also lost a large number of cattle. He observed that before he could have moved the animals to dry land they had died.
The farmers lamented that the animals are first developing a fever, then they slowly become too weak to stand on their own, after which they succumb.
Raberta LaRose, who has lost a large number from her 300 head of cattle, said that they are trying to bring the animals to dry lands. However, she noted that only a small number can be transported at a time. Another farmer, Seenarine Deonarine has so far lost about 100 of his cows.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo yesterday met with some farmers from the Berbice area at the New Amsterdam State House and promised that the Black Bush farmers will receive assistance. The farmers raised the issue of stray catchers with the Prime Minister, since they are afraid that when they attempt to bring their animals out from the savannah they might be impounded. However, Nagamootoo reassured the cattle rearers that no animals would be impounded once they are being brought out from the flooded savannah, whilst urging them to be aware of the safety of persons when relocating their animals.
The PM also arranged a flyover of the flooded area, which was expected to include the Civil Defence Commission and National Drainage and Irrigation Authority engineers.
Regional Engineer Lester Persaud, who was also present at the meeting, explained that Black Bush Polder drainage and irrigation system does not include the Cookrite Savannah. He added that some water could be released through Black Bush, but could cause difficulties for cash crop and rice farmers. He stated that before this could happen farmers would have to be sensitized.