Parts of Lethem and environs inundated

Students being shuttled between Lethem and St. Ignatius Village, via a boat belonging to the Lethem Policing Group, as sections of the area were yesterday inundated by water from the Takutu and Ireng rivers. (Photo courtesy of Erwin Thompson)

Heavy rainfall and the overflowing of the Takutu and Ireng rivers have once again caused sections of Lethem and its immediate environs to be inundated.

 According to reports reaching this newspaper, the water rose overnight and reached a height of six feet as of Wednesday afternoon, resulting in access to some villages being restricted and more than 10 families been displaced.

One resident, who spoke to Stabroek News earlier in the day, said only pick-ups were able to pass the main dam which links Lethem to St. Ignatius Village, and as such use of the road had already been restricted.

Based on photographs seen, students had to be shuttled between St. Ignatius Village and Lethem by a boat belonging to the Lethem Policing Group, while persons in Tabatinga and St. Ignatius had to wade through several feet of water.   

The area surrounding the Lethem Market and the road leading to the Lethem Airport have also seen the effects of the rising water. Additional reports also noted that the water in the Tabatinga Creek continues to rise, covering the main access bridge in the process.

Meanwhile, Vice-Chairman of the Region, Karl Singh explained that the water across the dam stood at about three and a half feet, as of yesterday afternoon.

 Additionally, he said a total of 10 households from Lethem, Tabatinga and Culvert City were relocated to the Culvert City Nursery School and the Tabatinga Sports Complex.

Further, Arapaima Primary School has already been identified as a potential shelter should more families need to be relocated since the other locations are now filled.

Mayor of Lethem, Kerry Jarvis who also spoke to Stabroek News said that the Town Council and Regional Democratic Council (RDC) have been working to set up sand bags to distribute to residents, as part of efforts to keep water from entering their homes.

Nevertheless, at the time of the interview, both men expressed belief that the situation remains under control. According to Singh, they have been in contact with the Civil Defence Commission and will continue to monitor the situation.

Back in June, heavy rains caused flooding in the South Pakaraimas, Deep South and Central Rupununi areas in Region Nine.

 Subsequent to this occurrence, the Civil Defence Commission conducted a damage risk assessment primarily around Karasabai, South Pakaraimas, and Aishalton, South Rupununi, with the aim of identifying the vulnerabilities and types of hazards to the communities, and found that with water levels of the Ireng and Takutu rivers high, many communities remained threatened.

 

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