By: Andrew Carmichael
Hundreds of animals as well as thousands of acres of rice and other crops are dying as flooding worsens in the East Bank of Berbice region, promoting residents and farmers to demand the urgent intervention of higher authorities to save their livelihood.
INews understands that when the floods had initially begun, an excavator was in the area clearing the canals. But after four days of operation, the machine was relocated to Black Bush Polder (BBP) where flooding has also intensified.
Residents say when the machine was removed, it had not even finished clearing one canal.
With more than 20 canals established to take water from the backlands between Lansdale and Khotbradt, only one has been partially cleared, allowing the free flow of water.
As a result, flood waters are rushing into many farms and residential areas, killing hundreds of animals and thousands of acres of crops.
Radish Ramkarran has over 1000 acres of rice land – all underwater. He says that 270 acres have already been cultivated.
“And we might lose all. Is between 21 to 30 days since we shy paddy and we aren’t seeing anything (new plants growing), all the rice underwater. It is not only me, they have other farmers here on the East Bank and we have thousands of acres of rice and nobody doing anything,” the farmer lamented.
He said a group of farmers had approached several regional officials for help but to no avail.
“They said they sending an excavator to give us and after four days they take it out and carry it to Black Bush. They said they would replace one and none up to know,” Ramkarran said.
The excavator left the community two weeks ago. It had been working at Rotterdam.
According to Ramkarran, the single active drainage canal cannot adequately drain the seven villages stretching from Lansdale to Khotbradt.
Deolall Sahadeo is both a cash crop and fruit farmer cultivating land at Brother Village. He cultivates 30 acres of fruits including soursop, bananas and plantains. He has lost all.
Livestock and cattle farmers say their losses are equally significant. Culvis Sam is a small sheep farmer and many of his animals have died.
Sam explained that his animals would usually head out to graze and return home in the evening, but now 30 of them missing.
Asked how he knows that the animals died and were not stolen, Sam said he had gone searching for the missing cows and found their carcasses.
Asgar Insaff Ali has been trying to get some of the young animals out of the water. His success is very limited. He told this publication that those he was able to locate in the savannah and take home have all died.
“I try bringing them on the dry land and they still ent make it.”
Another cattle farmer, Shahabadeen Ali said he has been searching for his animals for days but when he found them, they were dead.
“When I walk when this dam (water is covering the dam), I see about three or four cow lie-down dead one place.”
The other animals, he suspects, are also dead. He said it is only a matter of time to locate their carcasses.
President Dr Irfaan Ali is currently in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) where he is meeting with flood-affected residents.