Mahaica residents not prepared for another flood

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Residents in Region Five (Mahaica Berbice) who were severely affected from flooding when the sea defence was breached last year are not prepared for another such disaster.

Some eight months later, many residents are still reeling from the devastation and with the May/June rainy season here, they fear the worst.

The Hydrometeorological Office has issued a flood warning for flood-prone areas including Mahaica on the East Coast of Demerara.

The Hydromet Office said rainfall accumulation is expected to range from 15mm to 60mm over the next few days along coastal regions.

Persons who reside in villages in Mahaica say they are not prepared for such high intensity rainfall.

In fact, the breach which occurred last year, causing several weeks of flooding, has not been properly sealed.

Janette Bhandu, who had several inches in her yard back in September, says the current rains are worrying.

“I don’t know when the high tides come again. We are scared,” she said while noting that the breach is not sealed, thus, still allowing salt water to enter the communities.

“It coming up to the tamarind tree at the back but it isn’t getting into the yard. This is when the tide is high. But, I hear they are building another dam but, they are building it with mud. You would build a dam with mud?” she asked.

In September 2019, Anika Bissoon had at least three feet of water in her house; she lost all that she had in her kitchen garden. Now she is trying to get it going again with a watchful eye on the rising water.

“I lost everything, so, I am trying to do whatever I could do because I am not working and not getting any assistance from anywhere,” the single parent said.

Even as she is making those strides, Bissoon says they are not prepared for the May/June rains.

Anika Bissoon trying to restart her kitchen garden

“They have not done much. There is so much to be done…. Whatever they did at the breach there, the water is still washing in. many times when the tide comes in it washes away the stuff that they put there.”

Residents of Highdam say the water levels in the trenches between the residential area and the sea defence rise with every high tide.

In September 2019, the sea defense at Dantzig gave away causing massive destruction to both farmlands and residential communities between Dantzig and Fairfield as a result of flooding to Carlton Hall, Harmony Hall, Gliziers Lust, Prospect, Highdam, Rebacas Lust, Brooms Hall, Bath, Quakers Hall, Dekenren, Zealand and Planters Hall.

What used to be rice fields are now barren land due to the damage caused by the salt water.

According to the Hydromet Office, all regions will experience above normal rainfall until July while above normal high tide is expected between June 1 and 8. [Andrew Carmichael]