In deep flood, Kwakwani bracing for more rain

A section of Lamp Island showing the high level of the floodwater. Most of the houses are on stilts, but some are not high enough to escape the water.

Kwakwani remains in the grip of a deep flood and is bracing for more rain even as the authorities consider what steps to take for the hundreds of affected residents.

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Region Ten administration are currently monitoring the flooding in the Berbice River village. CDC Director General Lt. Col. Kester Craig says water levels have decreased slightly but are expected to rise again.

Water levels rose about five feet over the weekend at the Kwakwani Water Front, ‘Over the River’ and the Lamp Island areas due to heavy, persistent rainfall.  These areas have traditionally been vulnerable to flooding.

As a result, over 300 residents have been affected, with about 71 of them facing the brunt of the flood.

Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday, Craig pointed out that a team consisting of himself, representatives from the Ministry of Public Health, the Region Ten Regional Democratic Council, the Kwakwani Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), the Guyana Police Force and the Hydrometeorological Office of the Ministry of Agriculture visited the area yesterday.

 “We went to do a quick assessment of the situation and to work with the sub-district of Kwakwani to ensure that they have the relevant response mechanisms in place. The water is high at Water Front and Lamp Island,” Craig explained.

He noted that since the majority of persons built their homes on stilts, as flooding in the area is a recurring problem, only a small number of persons would have had floodwater invading their homes, and many of those persons have since temporarily relocated.

“A few persons would’ve moved and persons are already taking measures. They are using bleach in their water and some are using the same rainwater. They are taking adaptive measures to cope with the situation,” Craig noted.

The increase of waterborne diseases is of paramount concern to the CDC and the Region and Craig explained that so far they have not recorded any residents falling ill but they are wary of the possibility when the water recedes.

“There’s actually been a reduction over the last month but they are saying that in anticipation of the likely increase of waterborne diseases when the water recedes, they will need additional medical supplies,” he said, while pointing out that the request has been communicated to the representative from the Ministry of Public Health, who will be working towards getting the supplies to the community as soon as possible.

He noted that they are currently still monitoring and trying to establish a detailed view of the situation but additional intervention, including more water purification supplies, will be provided.

While the water dropped by several inches yesterday midday, the representatives from the Hydrometeorological Office have pointed out that heavy rainfall is expected and as a result the level is expected to rise again.

Kwakwani NDC chairwoman Juanita Leacock stated that the residents are frustrated and are hoping that the water will recede and the heavy rainfall will cease.

She pointed out that they have been calling for the dredging of the Berbice River for years and the use of silt to develop the area but nothing has been done. She said the residents have related that while the flooding would occur every few years, the frequency has increased and they are blaming this on the failure by authorities to act on calls to dredge the river. (Dhanash Ramroop)

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