Damaged roads, culverts mark aftermath of Rupununi floods

While floodwaters have receded in the Rupununi, they have left behind damaged roads and culverts, Region Nine Chairman Bryan Allicock has said.

Allicock yesterday explained that waters in the North Rupununi, from where he last received reports of flooding, have since receded and a list of all the farms affected as a result was sent to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.

However, the Chairman noted that the roads that were once covered by the water are now in very bad states. Added to that, he said vehicles trying to access Aishalton are now forced to use another route since the usual one forces vehicles into the creek as a result of damaged culverts.

A similar situation exists in Karasabai in the South Pakaraimas, which was previously isolated from the rest of the Region for several weeks as a result of the inundated roads.

According to Allicock, while trucks are better able to traverse the roads, smaller 4×4 pickups have some difficulty as a result of two damaged culverts.  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 Karasabai, 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.

Two weeks later, additional reports 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 Community Centre Ground and the Amerindian Hostel in Lethem, to accommodate those affected. Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who has responsibility for the CDC, had flown in 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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