Black Bush Polder flood crippling cattle farmers, over 1000 animals reported dead

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More than a thousand heads of cattle have died within the last few days as a result of flood waters at Cookrite Savannah in the Black Bush Polder, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).

When this publication visited the Savannah on Tuesday, carcasses were seen in varying stages of decomposition. Farmers have put the daily death toll at more than 20. The animals have little or no food to eat and the area stinks of rotting flesh.

Animals lie dead in the floodwaters

More than 1000 acres of land are under water, up to chest high in some sections. About 40 farmers occupy Cookrite Savannah, which is situated between the four polders – Johanna, Mibicuri, Yakasary and Lesbeholden. There are about 7000 heads of cattle along with sheep, goats and horses. The farmers reported that so far, more that 1000 heads of cattle have died and close to 20 horses.

Peter Crawford has 600 heads of cattle in the Savannah and already about 150 have died. Another farmer, Nico Greene, who owns 200 heads, said 50 of his animals are missing. He is fearful that they are dead. His brother, Compton Greene, who owns 400 heads of cattle, said that on Tuesday that he lost 10 horses and 60 cows as a result of the floodwaters.

The farmer watched helplessly as the animals developed fevers and then became too weak to stand. One farmer, Seenarine Deonarine, has lost about 100 of his 700 cows.

Sultan Munroe reported that he has lost close to 200 of his 500 cows.

Speaking also with this publication, female farmer Raberta LaRose reported that he lost 300 heads of cattle and about 100 sheep. She said efforts were made to get her animals to dry land risking the chance that they will be impounded. Cattle farmers are also doing the same. However many of them say they can only bring out a small portion.

Lucy Monroe, another female farmer, has already lost about 15 of her 100 heads of cattle. She is of the view that an engineer needs to visit the savannah to find a solution to save the remaining animals.

According to the farmers, only one of the three sluice doors is being operated at Adventure, while the pumps at Eversham and Number 43 Village are not being put into operation.

Region Six Chairman David Armogan had previously told this publication that the regional budget for fuel was cut by close to 50 per cent and as a result, the administration will be unable to carry out much of the work it did in the past.

Regional Vice Chairman Dennis DeRoop on Tuesday said he was aware of the situation and had been seeking the assistance of the cattle farmers to provide transportation to get the regional engineer to visit the area.
Cookrite Savannah is only accessible by boat.

Meanwhile, with no answers to the problem after two weeks of flooding, the affected farmers went to the regional office of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo on Tuesday seeking assistance. The staff at that office, Gobin Harbhajan, said that he wrote the Prime Minister as well as Agriculture Minister Noel Holder on the issue. (Andrew Carmichael)

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