Flooded Kwakwani residents ready to relocate but need land


Loreen Austin says she and other residents are willing to relocate from flood-prone Lamp Island, Kwakwani in the Upper Berbice River but they need lands to build their houses.

Lamp Island has been inundated for the past few weeks following heavy rainfall and residents have somewhat adapted to the situation.

Austin, a mother of five, during a telephone interview with the News Room on Thursday, said that there are now water taxis in the community to take children to school and people to work. While some families had no choice but to relocate to a temporary shelter, Austin and many others have chosen to remain in their flooded homes.

Lamp Island, Kwakwani (June 16, 2022)

Last month, Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, who heads the National Taskforce on Flood Monitoring, implored residents living in flood-prone and riverain areas to consider permanently relocating in order to avoid enduring such hazards in the future.

“Relocating is not a problem, but we cannot pick up just like that because first of all, you have to locate to someplace with land,” Austin lamented.

According to Austin, for the past few days, there has been no rainfall but Lamp Island remains flooded.

“Three days now we have been getting a little bit of sun but the water is still coming from way up the river.

“The water is surrounding us right now, there is hardly any land in Lamp Island,” Austin said.

Lamp Island, Kwakwani (June 16, 2022)

She explained that the situation is now ironic because residents now have to rely on the rainfall to get clean water.

“Right now, the water that is coming [through the pipes] is not too clean, it is discoloured,” Austin said.

Austin is also pleading with the region to provide residents with detergents and cleaning agents.

In 2021, Kwakwani experienced unprecedented flooding that devastated hundreds of residents.

The May/June rainy season is expected to last until August and all are urged to take the necessary flood precautions and to report any impacts to local authorities or the National Emergency Monitoring System (NEMS) on 600-7500 or 226-1114 at any time.


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