Stabroek News

Flash flood hits part of Alexander Village

Pedestrians, a cyclist, a car and a dog all had difficulty navigating First Street, Alexander Village after yesterday’s heavy downpours. (Terrence Thompson photo)

Heavy early morning rainfall flooded sections of Alexander Village and surrounding communities yesterday as well as several classrooms of the West Ruimveldt Primary School.

The unexpected flood was caused by approximately 10 minutes of constant, heavy rainfall coupled with a high tide. The rain started just before 9 am and continued pouring for more than 10 minutes. Within that time the water rose significantly and some yards in Alexander Village were left in more than four inches of floodwater.

Roadways and trenches were completely covered as well as part of the West Ruimveldt Primary School yard and some of its classrooms. A large section of West Front Road was also heavily inundated as the water level on the road merged with that of the two trenches running parallel to it.

Parents whose children are attending the school were noticed turning back after they were greeted by a completely flooded road that prevented them from accessing the school’s entrance.

“I am not sending my child through that. I am not and I will take her back home,” a mother with her six- year-old daughter, who was well dressed for school, said as she stood on the road while it drizzled. The woman said that in addition to the access road being flooded, some classrooms had borne the brunt of the heavy rains.

When Stabroek News visited the school yesterday morning, parts of the yard were covered with about three to four inches of water and at least four classrooms from the school’s eastern wing were flooded.

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) visited the area  to assess the situation and noted that the floodwater was four inches high in West Ruimveldt and seven inches high in First Street, Alexander Village.

“Water was receding with the afternoon low tide and no homes were seen or reported to be under water in both areas. The Alexander Village Canal and the Laing Avenue Canal are blocked with vegetation and sediments contributing to the floods due to heavy rainfall,” the CDC said.

Residents of Alexander Village also echoed similar sentiments and blamed the flood on the clogged drains and canals.

“Look at them and see how high the grass them deh right there. Nothing can’t flow through and I would be very, very surprised if they even got any life there cause the water does look and smell stink. They does come once in a blue moon and clean the canal and then it does leff like that for months. Months and months does pass and nobody does budge. Not only the big canal but all the drains, nobody don’t come clean and dig and is that got this whole place flooding so quickly,” one frustrated resident explained while he stood in the middle of his flooded yard.

The man explained that the flood came in a flash and “appear out of nowhere.” He said that before it started raining he was in his yard doing some work as the sun was shining “very brightly”. He explained that he stepped inside for no more than ten minutes after the rain started and after he “peeped” outside he was surprised to see his entire yard flooded.

“The thing hit me just like that cause me ain’t expect it. I didn’t even know the rain fall so hard. When it start I come in and I sit down and I eat, and it fall lil hard and when I done eat and I look outside I see the whole yard in water and the whole street,” the man explained.

Other residents echoed similar sentiments and said that they have made numerous calls to the relevant authorities for there to be a constant cleaning of the canal, which should be a priority given that the village is susceptible to flooding easily.

They said that they are of the opinion that if the two canals were to be cleaned regularly, along with the other drains in the surrounding communities then they would not be as susceptible to flooding as they currently are.

The situation was also compounded by the unusually high spring tide and the residents said that they will be extra vigilant in the coming weeks.