Wakenaam inundation: Contractor blamed for sea defence breach

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A breach to a section of the sea defence structure on the island of Wakenaam, located in the mouth of the Essequibo River, has led to inundation in the communities of Melville and Sans Souci between Saturday night and Sunday morning, causing much damage and much distress to islanders.

Region Three Executive Officer Denis Jaikarran and a team from the Civil Defence Commission visited the area to assess the situation and oversee the distribution to residents of hampers which included disinfectant and other cleaning materials.

Wakenaam Neighbourhood Democratic (NDC) Chairman Sheik Amad, who also formed part of the response team, told this publication on Sunday that he also was in contact with Members of Parliament (MPs), including Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) representative Irfaan Ali.

Amad pointed out that the breach was sealed on Sunday morning, but stressed that over 12 homes have sustained damage from the flood waters. He added that the Sans Souci Masjid was also inundated, causing some damage.

This publication was informed that construction began on a rip-rap seawall at the back of Sans Souci mosque some two weeks ago. Reports are that on Tuesday morning last, some flooding was recorded.

Residents, whose low-lying homes were flooded, are blaming the contractor Deodat Singh, citing negligence on his part.

This publication was also told that Singh was called in to address the matter, and he undertook some remedial work. However, on Saturday evening, flooding began and continued into Sunday, leaving annoyed residents counting their losses.

The Wakenaam NDC Chairman said that this latest flooding could have been avoided.

“When we investigate, it’s basically the contractor’s negligence for not (using) the (required) amount of material. The overtopping washed away the defence and caused a breach about 10 feet wide,” Amad noted.

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