Grove residents count losses after massive flood from breached koker
By Isanella Patoir
Residents living on the north-west of the Grove community on the East Bank of Demerara are counting their losses after a koker at the Grove Market Street collapsed at about 17:00h on Wednesday, causing flooding in the area.
The Government and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) are providing assistance to the residents.
When the News Room visited the area on Thursday residents were still cleaning their homes.
The door of the koker broke as a result of the current spring tide.
With the timely intervention of the Government and the Diamond/Grove NDC, the water receded within hours but residents are still counting their losses.
Illegal electrical connections also began sparking in the area after the flood hit.
“Immediately the Ministers, the Chair and Vice Chair did some remedial works whereby we blocked the koker front and back and they promise us that they will complete the task within 3am (Wednesday) and within three to four days they will build a brand new door,” Heman Ramphal, a Councillor told the News Room.
The NDC has distributed sanitary and cleaning agents to the residents and will be on the ground to assist
A small business owner in the area, Ramdial Laiji, said he only managed to save some of his appliances.
“That is one experience wah I never see yet. In a jiffy time everything flooded. The only thing me get out is my three freezers and two settees,” Laiji said.
Meanwhile, the operator for the koker, Suraj Satnoo, said it was the first time a breach of the Koker occurred. He has been operating the koker for the past 22 years.
The News Room understands that four days ago Satnoo reported to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) that there were breaks in the koker.
A about 17:00h on Wednesday he discovered the door broke and immediately contacted the engineer at NDIA.
“First time this ever happen, I don’t know what kind of wood that door make with,” Satnoo stated.
Ann Guyadin still had water in her house when the News Room visited. She explained that she had to send away her young disabled daughter because she was afraid the spring tide would cause another flood.
“The experience I had was the first time.
“I never lived around here before and I was on the road when people started to shout that the koker break and by time I come in the yard the water start come in the yard and in a second it start to rise,” Guyadin stated.
Shirley Ali was home alone with her young grandson when the koker broke and the water came rushing in. While the elderly woman was trying to save some items from the home, she was bitten by a snake and is now unable to walk and is still shaken about the incident.
“I started packing up things and do whatever I able to do cause my grandson was not around at the said time only a little one so I hustle to try and see what I could bring upstairs but by time I go downstairs the water filling up and now come this snake. He coil up in the water and I start screaming and I say, Oh my god, snake biting me!” the traumatic woman related.
Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha promised residents that a system will be put in place to constantly repair and maintain the koker.
The area was also visited Wednesday evening by Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, who has responsibility for the Civil Defence Commission, Public Works Ministers Juan Edghill and Deodat Indar, and Local Government Minister Nigel Dharamlal.