$460M approved for emergency works on Mahaicony Sea Defence

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The Finance Ministry has approved some $460M to undertake emergency works on the sea defence at Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara (ECD).

The sea defence was partly damaged during the spring tide from July 31 to August 4, 2019.

See full statement from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure below:

During the recent spring tide period of July 31, to August 4, 2019, a section of the sea defence earthen embankment at Prospect, Mahaicony was severely eroded, resulting in the intrusion of substantial volumes of saline water into the Bellamy Canal.

There was no flooding to nearby agricultural lands, since the Bellamy Canal Sluice at the Mahaica River was operated during low tide to release excess water stored in the canal.

In addition to this breach at Prospect, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has been actively undertaking emergency flood protection works to restore separate breaches along the sea defence embankment between Fairfield and Dantzig, Mahaicony.

On July 6, 2019, a 125 metres section of the sea defence embankment was breached at Danzigt which is now sealed. A decision was taken by the Ministry to divert boulder materials stockpiled for the construction of a rock armour revetment at Prospect to the Dantzig site to seal the breached area.

In commenting on the recent challenges, the Ministry has faced in implementing flood prevention measures Mahaicony, Chief Sea and River Defence Officer, Mr. Kevin Samad indicated that significant degradation of the natural sea defence system along a 3 kilometres stretch of shoreline between Fairfield and Dantzig has occurred over the last six months.

Mr. Samad explained that due to the erosion and accretion cycle characteristic of the Guyana coast, progressive movement of mud and silt from the Mahaicony foreshore has resulted in the rapid depletion of the mangrove fringe which has left the earthen embankment in several sections completely exposed to direct wave action.

Whereas, the area was for many years protected by a natural flood protection system, it has become necessary for a resilient man-made sea defence to be constructed.

The rainy season also continues to have adverse impacts on the progress of works since the access dams are currently in a deplorable state. The shortest access dam is over 2 kilometres long and maneuvering with lorries and earth moving equipment are restricted due to the continue inclement weather.

Nevertheless, the emergency works are ongoing and to date, over 7500 tons of boulders have already been delivered within the Prospect/Dantzig area via barges by A & S General Contractors Inc. The Ministry also wishes to note that a 90 feet long heavy-duty timber bridge was recently completed at Dantzig across the Bellamy Canal since the only other access bridge across the Bellamy Canal is approximately 3 kilometres away at Fairfield.

Commenting on the Ministry’s plan of action, the Chief Sea and River Defence Officer, stated that a contract was recently awarded to A & S General Contractors Inc. to construct 325 metres of permanent rock revetment structure at the Prospect area at a contract sum of G$160 million dollars.

This is to supplement previous emergency intervention that was implemented along the Prospect area earlier this year during the months of March and April 2019. The Contractor has commenced supplying rock materials to execute the revetment works with over 3,000 Tons of rock armour already delivered to site at Prospect.

Additionally, on Tuesday, 9 July 2019 a tender was opened at NPTAB to construct an additional 350 metres of rip rap structure between Prospect and Broomhall under phase 2 of the Project. It is expected that all the requisite approval will be

The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has also engaged the Ministry of Finance on the provision of contingency financing to undertake permanent works at all the critical areas impacted by the erosion cycle.

Mr. Samad indicated that the Ministry of Finance has approved a G$460 Million contingency allocation to undertake permanent rip rap works and to secure other vulnerable sections within the 3 Kilometers stretch.

The Ministry of Public Infrastructure would like to reassure residents and farmers of the Mahaicony area that continuous efforts are being made to monitor the sea defences and interventions are being arranged to expeditiously reinforce vulnerable sections to prevent flooding.