Those affected in Essequibo from recent freak storm are calling on government for help

Dear Editor,

The freak storm which hit the Essequibo Coast two days ago along with Pomeroon, destroyed houses and cash crops in the Lima and Pomeroon area. There were millions  of dollars in losses from this freak storm. At Lima house tops were blown off in the night as families ran out of their houses thinking it was a hurricane or an earthquake. The sea tide rise was so high it caused overtopping and flooded some villages, destroying kitchen gardens. Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt quickly rushed to the scene to assess the damage and see what help could be given to the families who were seeking shelter in tents and neighbours’ houses.

This is the second time within 5 years that a freak storm has destroyed houses in the Lima area.

The first one occurred in 2005, causing havoc while I was the acting Mayor of the township. I was asked by the government and the former regional chairman to accompany the former president Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, to visit the families and see what damage had been done. A team of building experts came from Georgetown and examined the houses to see what the fault was. They found that some of the houses had been poorly constructed; the bolts of the rigging at the top had no nuts screwed down on them which caused the wind to lift the roof off and send it hundreds of feet away. Lima is the village where I was born, with a population of 10,000 residents, mostly rice farmers and fishermen. The former president decided that help should be given to the families to rebuild their homes.

Regional Vice Chairman Mr Vishnu Samaroo, was tasked with the job of seeing that these destroyed homes received building materials. He mobilized a team of carpenters who rebuilt the homes.

Most of the houses which were badly affected in the present freak storm were in Lima dam area, a fishing community. These houses were thatched with troolie and constructed with old boards. At  Richmond housing scheme the houses whose roofs were blown off were large ones with four bedrooms, verandahs and concrete bottom flats. Over in the Pomeroon river, thousands of acres of plantains, bananas and coconut trees were uprooted from the ground. These trees were  bearing fruits at various  stages of development; the most affected plantation belonged to Mr Roopan Ramotar of Grant Unity.

Some of the plantains and bananas were about to be reaped, and millions of dollars were lost on this plantation. Other farmers in the Pomeroon river suffered heavy losses as well, but no Regional officals or government minister visited the affected farmers and residents except Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt, who is now trying to get help for them. Many of the crops were uprooted because the soil is pegasse in the Pomeroon river and it is loose. The residents and farmers are calling on the government for help.

Yours faithfully,

Mohamed Khan

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