Rain, overflowing rivers lead to flooding in North Rupununi

The North Rupununi is now experiencing flooding as rainfall has caused water from the nearby rivers to move inland, affecting farmlands in the process.

Flooding in the North comes just after residents in Lethem and its immediate environs, who were previously displaced as a result of floodwaters, have returned home.

Regional Chairman Bryan Allicock yesterday said that while waters in Lethem and its immediate environs have run off, he has received reports that water has started rising in the North Rupununi.

 Commenting first on the flood situation in Lethem, which had displaced 58 persons for more than two weeks, Allicock said those persons have since returned home.

“They are no longer in the shelters; we would have given them supplies to sanitize their homes before they moved back home, so we do not have anybody in the shelters at this moment,” he said.

 Additionally, the Chairman was pleased to report that accessibility to areas such as Karasabai, which was previously cut off from the rest of the region, as a result of the water covering the roads, has since improved.

 “The water has since gone down and vehicles like the four-by-four (4 x 4) are able to pass again, the lower vehicles still cannot pass though. There are also some persons who prefer to take the alternative route of going over to the Brazilian side with a boat and take a taxi to come over to Lethem,” Allicock shared.

“I am very pleased with the weather reports coming out of Brazil that say the Amazon remains dry, that there are not experiencing rains, because once it rains over there, the rivers are backed up and starts to overflow which causes flooding over here. Though we are still getting rains here, the water is not coming up like before,” the chairman pointed out.

 However, according to recent reports received, Allicock said, the North Rupununi is now experiencing some amount of floods.

 “I am in Georgetown right now, but we have received some reports and would have seen some videos showing farms in Aranaputa and cassava plants that would have rotted as a result of the water and so that is something we will be looking at,” he explained.

“The rains we are getting now are the usual rainy season rains, but at the same time, the water from the rivers are now rising and coming inland which is affecting the North Rupununi,” the Chairman added.

Back in June, this newspaper had reported on flooding in the region caused by heavy rainfall and the overflowing of rivers, which had led to communities in the South Pakaraimas and the Deep South Rupununi being cut off.

Subsequent to this occurrence, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) had conducted a damage risk assessment, primarily around Kar-asabai, the 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.

Additional reports, two weeks later, noted that water levels had risen once again after a night of heavy rainfall. As a result, shelters were opened at the Culvert City Primary School, Tabatinga Com-munity Centre Ground and the Amerindian Hostel in Lethem, to accommodate those affected.

This was followed by a visit to the Region by Junior Public Infrastruc-ture Minister, Annette Ferguson, during which time an assessment of the situation was done. Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who has the responsibility for the CDC, had flown in one day later to get a firsthand look at the situation, and had expressed satisfaction with how the situation was being handled by the regional administration, saying there had been an improvement in the response compared to two years ago when similar flooding had occurred.

Relief supplies from the CDC, which include water purification tablets, collapsible bottles, detergents and cleaning supplies, beddings and blankets, among other materials, were also sent to Lethem for those affected by the flood.

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