By Vishani Ragobeer
As part of efforts to mitigate the massive floods that have hit Region Six (East Berbice- Corentyne), the regional authorities have mobilised a number of drainage pumps in various communities to get the water out of houses and farmlands.
This is according to Regional Chairman, David Armogan, who spoke with the News Room at his New Amsterdam, Berbice office on Saturday.
Since the rainy season began in May, this region has been particularly hard-hit. Scores of houses and farms were flooded resulting in significant economic losses.
Over the past few days, however, Armogan related that the rain has eased and the regional authorities have capitalised on the opportunity to aggressively engage in emergency drainage works, despite water from the backlands still flooding the residential front lands.
The Regional Chairman explained that there has been a significant drive to install drainage pumps in all flood-affected communities and to ensure that the sluice is operable when the tide is low.
Since the region did not have enough pumps, he said that the regional authorities made the decision to hire a number of rice pumps to pump water out of the residential areas.
With the pumps, the communities were first impoldered, and then the pumps were used to get the water out. Though this has allowed a number of communities to recover from the floods, it is not a perfect situation.
“What we find when you are pumping water, you have to pump into these canals and then when you pump water out of the residential areas into the canals, you find that the water goes over to another village because these villages are separated by canals,” the Regional Chairman explained.
Acknowledging that it has been difficult trying to control the flooding situation, the official said that the region is grateful to at least have some temporary relief.
In the Region Six community of New Forest, one resident, Rohit Gangadin, said that the drainage works have indeed been providing some relief to him, though he related that his losses have already been significant.
Another New Forest resident, Mavis Beaton contended, however, that if these drainage works began earlier, some communities might have been spared from the devastating effects of the heavier than normal rainfall.
Armogan contended that the rainfall this year has been unprecedented, but admitted that in some residential areas, some of the drains had “blockages”.
“We have managed to put machines in, we have hired almost all of the machines in this region (to clear the drains),” he said, but hastened to add: “Even with the regular rainfall, or the situation that existed before the rainfall, we never had water on the ground.”
“We have never seen this level of flooding in the history of this region,” he emphasised too.
Aside from the ongoing mitigation works, the Regional Chairman also related that much emphasis has been placed on providing food and shelter to affected residents.
There are two shelters set up at Fort Ordinance and in Black Bush Polder. No one has taken up shelter as yet, however, and the regional chairman said that it appears as though flood-affected residents prefer to stay with their families.