In about two weeks’ time, Guyana and Brazil could have a joint border committee set up to look at the effects of the excessive flooding that had occurred in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), Government said on Friday.
Neighbouring Brazil has been drawn into the loop since the flooding in the region, which has already forced residents out of their homes, has been found to not be a “Guyana problem”.
Agriculture Minister Noel Holder explained the foregoing and said the flooding was caused by the continued “backing up” of the rivers bordering Guyana and Brazil.
“There is bright sunshine…no rain (in Region Nine), but the Ireng and Takutu have been backing up from 25 feet. This is not a Guyana problem. What seems to be happening is the Amazon seems to be backing up in the Rio Negro, which is also backing up into the Rio Branco, which is backed up into the Ireng and the Takutu”, Holder told reporters on Friday.
Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, Colonel (retd) Chabilal Ramsurup, has been in contact with the Brazilian Government to determine what can be done about the situation. He said the situation in Region Nine is difficult to influence.
According to Colonel Ramsarup, there was a meeting between Guyana and its Brazilian counterpart on Thursday, wherein it was found that the water in the Rio Branco is rising because of heavy rainfall occurring in the north of Brazil.
He said there has been sunshine for the entire week in Region Nine. And while the water has receded somewhat in the Lethem area, all other sub-regions remain flooded.
“We advised farmers there to reap all the crops that can be reaped. We advise that they take all the crops to the mills and ensure that we could utilise as much farine and cassava bread as possible,” Colonel Ramsarup detailed. He assured that there is no shortage of food in the region, but said if the situation persists, it may lead to that.
He said the CDC is hoping that the rain in northern Brazil eases up, but according to the forecast, there will be rain today and tomorrow. That, he said, will give rise to water again in both the Takutu and Ireng rivers.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry already has on the ground some engineers to assess the flood situation in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), Agriculture Minister Noel Holder has said.
Farmers along the Corentyne Coast have been complaining about the loss of cattle at the Cookerite Savannah. Holder said the situation is a worrisome one for Government as the Canje river continues to overflow its bank.
He explained that pumping stations use water from the Canje creek to service the Black Bush Polder, Rose Hall and Albion estates.
According to him, the system is so designed that because of the high requirement of water from the Canje River, the dry canal was dug, linking the Berbice River to the Canje River to allow water from the Berbice River to supplement the water in the Canje river, so as to ensure there is enough water along the Corentyne Coast.
However, over the last month or so, because of excessive water in the upper reaches of the Canje River, the water has been overtopping.
“One such area is the Cookerite Savannah, (and another is) the Manarabisi Savannah,” he declared. The result of this flooding, he said, is that farmers who rear cattle on these pastures are encountering inundated pastures. The cattle population is to some extent in jeopardy.
He said that while farmers have been complaining that thousands of their cattle have been lost, overhead checks using helicopters by the CDC have not seen that amount. In any event, he said, cattle would usually find whatever high ground they can.
According to Holder, it is an area of concern because it is not a drainage and irrigation area, and the water cannot be drained into the Canje River because it is overflowing its bank.
According to Holder, the Agriculture Ministry has sent in a team of engineers to look at the situation. They have also begun installing a number of additional pumps to pump the Manarabisi area to drain into the Black Bush Polder area.
To this end, Holder said, the NDIA has installed pumps at Lesbeholden, Adventure, Numbers 46 and 49, two pumps at Number 52 Village along with two machines that are cleaning the Fowler Canal to take the water to the Number 66 Creek.
Holder said if there is no excessive rainfall over the next few days, the situation could be brought under control.