Essequibo shorelines still under pressure from high tides
- Salt water invades several areas
The ongoing El Niño phenomenon continues to pose serious constraints to rice farmers especially those living in the southern section of the Essequibo Coast, in locations like Cullen, Johanna Cecilia, Perseverance and Suddie. Many are trying to save their livestock from the salt water that has invaded their premises.
At the same time, farmers and residents in the north Essequibo are also in desperate fight to get water in their farmlands.
Residents and farmers in Cullen and Perseravence have complained bitterly about the situation. They are alleging that their communities are flooded because of poor sea defence in the area. They say that the recent flood is due to a 20-foot breach in the seawall at Cullen.
Residents however noted that the Administration has responded quickly to curb the situation by installing sand bags and building an embankment.
They said, though, that the high tides continue to overtop the areas. Most of the affected residents live near to the sea defence structures that were affected.
Residents, especially those in the Cullen Sand Top area, are of the view that the Ministry of Public Works and Hydraulics should intervene quickly.
One woman, Reshma Persaud, who lives in the Cullen Sand Top (Uku Creek) area told this newspaper that she has been living there for over ten years and has never experienced such serious overtopping.
This newspaper observed that many persons living in the Uku Creek area have erected permanent concrete structures and the village has experienced tremendous transformation over the years. Many persons who were affected by the recent spring tides have migrated.
However those who have concrete structures had no choice but to stay put. Persons are affected by the tides early in the morning and in the evening. The water recedes at noon and again close to midnight.
One man, Lincoln Rambarran, who was seen in the two-foot deep water said that the situation is terrible and residents in the areas have received information to apply for houselots to migrate elsewhere.
Rambarran said for years they have been living in the area and many development works have been done transforming the landscape of the fishermen’s town.
“We have well structures, crush and run roads, and electricity here. All they want is sea defence structure to protect them against the high tides whenever it approaches,” Rambarran explained
In Perseverance, the residents were also affected by the overtopping that forced many to seek refuge elsewhere, as their homes and farmlands are covered with salt water. The residents are still assessing their losses.
Norlon Connelly, a cash crop farmer, continues to experience salt water in his farm and his home. The salt water has submerged the interior of Connelly’s home for over four days. The family has since sought refuge at a relative’s home.
When this newspaper visited Connelly’s farm and home Monday evening the water was still running through his land into drainage trenches.
Region Two Vice Chairman, Vishnu Samaroo, when contacted for a comment on the situation said that the residents that were affected are residing close to the embankment. He noted that the occupancy of the embankment by squatters is a serious issue, particularly in these areas, and the department has already raised the issue with the subject minister.
He said that while defence rangers and the department of sea defence in the region are assessing the situation, discussions will be made with the Ministry of Housing to determine possible ways to address the matter.