National assessment of drainage & irrigation in the works – Pres. Ali

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As the government continues to fan out to inundated communities countrywide, aiming to provide some immediate relief, President Dr. Irfaan Ali revealed that there will be a national assessment of drainage and irrigation to see where pumps are needed to help with flood mitigation.

The President said this during a visit to the Big Biaboo community in Region Five (Mahaica- Berbice) on Tuesday. Here, he met with residents and farmers who have been adversely affected by the nationwide floods.

As he arrived at the Big Biaboo community, he was met by a large gathering of residents and farmers, eager to inform him of their plight. A number of farmers spoke about how they have lost their crops and that their animals are dying, because they are left in inundated farmlands.

Cash crop and rice farmer of Big Biaboo, Drona Nandram with some of the crops he managed to salvage (Photo: Yusuf Ali/ June 8, 2021)

“About 10 years now abe nah get a flood like this… This is the biggest flood,” a cash crop and rice farmer of Big Biaboo, Drona Nandram, told the News Room on Tuesday.

Just before, Nandram was paddling in his small canoe with sandbags filled with whatever crops he managed to salvage.

“Every morning when me wake up, me ah see this water ah raise up. (At) the creek dam embankment, the water ah run over. The savannah water more high than the creek,” he lamented.

While meeting with the affected farmers in this community, the President said, “Today we are here to let you know that we are with you in this and that we are not going to disappear, that is not how we are going to operate.”

President Irfaan Ali meeting with farmers and residents in Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (Photo: Office of the President/June 08, 2021)

According to him, medium and long-term issues need to be addressed so that the farmers would be able to understand how they will return to their livelihoods. And, the President assured the members of the community that the government would be providing the necessary assistance.

“We’ll be having a comprehensive assessment (but) our priority is to see all possible ways in which we can get this water off the land as quickly as possible,” the President said.

While travelling along the Mahaica River to visit the homes and farms affected by flooding that was caused by heavy rainfall and the overflowing river, the President told residents that soon, a national assessment on drainage and irrigation would be done.

An aerial view of the flooded area over Big Baiboo, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) (Photo: Yusuf Ali/June 8, 2021)

He said that this assessment would help the local authorities to understand where drainage pumps would be needed, as part of flood mitigation efforts in the future.

At Mahaica, the President was accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, and Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig. Subsequently, the team also visited several riverain areas in Mahaicony. (Vishani Ragobeer)

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