Rain adds to Canal No.1 flood woes

A boat in proximity to one of the flooded homes in the area on Friday (Keno George photo)

Rain continues to add to the flood woes of Canal No. 1 on the West Bank of Demerara even as the national drainage body has denied that non-payment caused a contractor not to clean a key canal.

Yesterday, the water dropped a little but continuous rainfall over the past week has left farms and residences inundated.  Flooding began around Christmas Eve.

Jacoba Constantia-Conservancy Neighbour-hood Democratic Council (NDC) Chairman Dhanraj  Bipath, had said on Friday  that the annual contract for the cleaning of the canal was not awarded to the contractor for this year. Bipath said he was carrying out works on a bi-monthly basis and the contractor had started cleaning the canal in November but stopped after he was not receiving payments.

However, Chief Execu-tive Officer (acting) of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, Frederick Flatts yesterday refuted this claim and explained that while money is owed to the contractor for works in December, the contractor was paid prior to this and the canal was cleaned and cleared of rapidly multiplying  moss.

“What you were told is not correct…We have a contract with the contractor for once a month cleaning and the area was cleaned. He has to be paid for works in December,” responded Flatts when asked why the contractor was not paid.

Further, Flatts explained that he had visited the community yesterday and noticed the water slowly receding. He added that there was little relief to residents since it rained on Saturday into yesterday and more rain was likely.

Since the flooding, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has revisited the community, The Water Users Association of Canals Polder to Goodland and Minister of State Joseph Harmon visited the community on Friday and handed out 200 sanitation hampers to residents.

Some residents who are farmers have recorded losses of crops and residents are forced to stay indoors as their yards are swamped. Residents have to use sandbags to keep the water out from their dwellings and some have created makeshift walkways elevated above the water to gain access to and from their yards.

Residents had told Stabroek News that this is the worst flood they have experienced since the 2005 inundation.

Bipath had told this newspaper that the flooded section of the canal polder would be the last to get relief from flooding  since it is at the lower end of the community.

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