By Vishani Ragobeer
The community of New Forest is located in Region Six (East Berbice- Corentyne), just next to Canje creek. There are not many houses here but most of the New Forest residents have their own farms. Due to the heavy rainfall, high tides, and late drainage and irrigation works, these residents were adversely impacted by excessive flooding.
Rohit Gangadin, one of the farmers who live in the community, said that all of his cash crops were inundated and, subsequently, died.
“Me gotta bear it,” he told the News Room on Saturday. “Every five year this thing (the flooding) does happen in here.”
This year, however, Gangadin said that there was an overflow of the water in the nearby creek, which resulted in enduring flooding. Though emergency drainage pumps were deployed and had been draining water from his yard, floodwaters still left his home inundated.
Another resident of New Forest, Mavis Beaton, was also flooded on Saturday. To get to the road, she had to wade through inches of floodwaters that covered her house and seemingly had nowhere to go.
According to her, this flooding has been the worst she has ever experienced in the decades she has been living in New Forest. And, she lamented that ongoing drainage and irrigation works could have reduced the severity of this year’s floods.
Though wary of future floods, she said she would not move. Instead, she highlighted, “I like living in New Forest, meen like living on the road… I born right here and I gon dead right here.”
The farmlands at the back of New Forest were not spared from the harsh effects of the floods, either.
Rice farmer, Harish Kupsammy, said that he has recorded nearly $4 million in losses because he has been unable to harvest his nearly 50 acres of rice.
He said that flooding has impacted him and his harvest before, but he has never recorded this many losses. Since the rainy season began in May, Region Six has been among the hardest-hit regions locally. In fact, this region is one of the five regions that has been devastated by the flooding.
On Sunday, Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig related that priority needs are drainage pumps to help get water off the land, especially in those farming communities in Regions Two, Five, and Six.
“… because of the level of water there, if we continue to have more rainfall, we would have more long term and greater disruption on the crops and livestock in those regions,” he related.
On Saturday, in other parts of Region Six, the floodwaters seemed to be receding due to the work of the drainage pumps that had been deployed.
At Babu John, in Port Mourant, there were three pumps operating simultaneously to get the water out of the community. While this provided some relief, residents explained that heavy rainfall would flood the community again – as had been happening over the past few weeks.
“For the past two days, the place was dry but this morning the water come back,” Geeta Baboolall highlighted on Saturday.
Baboolall has been living at Babu John for 26 years and, like the residents in New Forest, she said that this level of flooding has never happened before. The worst flood before now, she said, lasted only about three days – not three weeks.
Further south, in Black Bush Polder, there were reports of torrential rainfall. There, residents felt as though they were experiencing some sort of storm.
One resident Tajwattie Dayasindoo said that the rainfall resulted in the drains and rice fields overflowing, thus, leading to an inundation of the residents’ houses.
“.. if they keep the trench low, we wouldn’t have this,” she said.
“Even if the rain fall, after lil sun, the water would dry out.”
Her aunt, Shanta Dayasindoo, echoed similar sentiments. This woman was forced to move from her house since it had become flooded and uninhabitable.
“This place been deh good all the time but is the water what ride over the koker… last time rain fall, me nah get flood but this time me can’t mek it,” the woman said.