Persistent rainfall, high tides blamed for city flooding

This duo was seen pedalling through a flooded street in North Ruimveldt yesterday. (Terrence Thompson photo)

Continuous rainfall and above normal high tides are being blamed for flooding in  sections of Georgetown yesterday.

Among the severely affected areas were Festival City, in North Ruimveldt, where the streets and low lying yards were still under water up to yesterday afternoon. Residents in North Ruimveldt said that they did not suffer any significant damage as the water did not enter their homes.

Several streets in Albouystown and the parapets in neighbouring areas were also flooded. East and West Ruimveldt also had pockets of water in the streets.

In the commercial district, Charlotte, King, Main, Quamina, and Carmichael streets were flooded, while the pavements of Camp and Regent streets were also covered with water.

Some residents said they woke up to overtopping drains and flooded streets but the water quickly receded by around 10.30 am.

“The flooding resulted from the heavy downpour. We had 83.33 millimeters of rainfall in Georgetown. At that same time of the flood, we had the high tide. That combined and resulted in excessive water on land,” Chief City Engineer Colvern Venture yesterday explained.

Venture said that as the tide fell around 8 yesterday morning, the sluice doors at the various kokers were opened and the water flowed out.

Asked if all the pumps were operable, Venture responded in the negative, explaining that the JP Santos and Lamaha Street pumps along with one of the pumps at the Liliendaal pump station are not working.

“Those are as a result of wood and garbage getting into the impeller and because of that it caused damage to the pump. We are working to have them quickly replaced. It is a lot of work and major works to be done,” Venture said.

Apart from the above normal tides contributing to flooding in the city, the City Engineer explained that areas in east and north Georgetown suffered to some extent because of the encumbrances preventing the clearing of the Front Road canal.

“The streets and yards had accumulated water is as a result of the encumbrances we have on the Front Road canal and we are not able to clear it properly,” he disclosed.

Venture further stated that the council will continue to monitor the situation but called on residents to take necessary precautions since the above normal high tide warning is in effect.

“If we are to have rain again, there is not much we can do… It is only when the tide drops and we are able to open the sluice doors we would be able to bring relief to residents,” he explained.

Following the flooding, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, Deputy Mayor Akeem Peter and Town Clerk Royston King, Chief Constable Andrew Foo, Venture and other city officials were engaged in a walkabout on Regent Street and at the Bourda Market.

Vendors at the Bourda Green section told this publication that they did not arrive early to vend since they anticipated flooding. They also noted that they did not record any damage to their products.

“When I come, the water had started to go down. When I see the rain fall so heavy, I done say market flood but when I come around 8 it was not high,” Sandra, a vendor, stated.

She noted that the market floods too frequently and a better drainage system should be in place.

Another vendor pointed out that she arrived just after 6.30 am at her stall and the water was just below her shin.

She, however, said that it did not enter her stall and she was able to begin her business for the day.

Rakesh (only name given), of Rajkumar and Sons Grocery, who vends in the market, told Stabroek News that although he was not flooded, he had been affected greatly since water from the roof has been seeping into his business.

“I had to put things on top to [stop] to water from dripping into the stall but it is still happening. Where I am in the valley, here is where the water comes and drain. So, the water running down a post and causing damage,” he stated.

He explained that as a result he had to disconnect his electrical appliances since the water damaged his fuse box.

He also said that he complained on several occasion to the council about the hazard but to date nothing has been done.

He stressed that he had also contacted Guyana Power and Light Inc but it has also not responded.



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