Anxiety over unusually high waves caused by the current spring tide as the Ministry of Works steps up its monitoring of the sea defence structures along the vulnerable sections of the East and West Coast of Demerara.
Already the threat to the volatile Montrose area along East Coast Demerara has subsided as the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority has carried out works aimed at removing excess water that had accumulated from waves that overtopped the seawall.
Residents panicked on Tuesday when huge waves pounded the seawall, bringing back memories of the devastation caused by similar circumstances in April 2008.
Works Minister Robeson Benn who was at East Coast Demerara site, told this newspaper that the situation is being closely monitored.
He said that the problem is not stemming from a high spring tide but from large swellings coming into the Guyana coast line.
“These are long reach waves coming from somewhere out in the Atlantic,” the Minister said.
He explained that under normal spring tide conditions there will be no splashing over of waves as is now being experienced. The situation is compounded by the long reach waves riding on the high tide.
“You got a four, five foot wave coming in on top of the high tide-the highest today is about 3.01 meters,” the Minister told Kaieteur News.
And the waves will get higher still, reaching their highest on Saturday at 17:00 hours with waves reaching 3.2 meters.
Benn recalled the situation in April 2008 when residents on the East Coast of Demerara suffered significant losses as a result of over-topping of the sea defence by unusually high waves.
“We had a similar experience, maybe more severe then. Again, at that point and time, there was a depression somewhere off the Bahamas, creating long reach swellings,” Minister Benn stated.
Motorists using the Main East Coast Demerara Highway were forced to take precaution in the vicinity of the University of Guyana Access Road at Turkeyen where the road was inundated with water that had spilled over from the seawall.
According to Minister Benn, a contract to raise the level of the sea defence system in the vulnerable areas from Plaisance to Triumph on the East Coast of Demerara is expected to commence soon.
“That contract is just now being mobilized,” he said.
Over on the West Coast, particularly at Cornelia Ida, Leonora and Uitvlugt, over topping of the sea defence has occurred and will continue until the spring tide peaks.
But the Minister assured that the drainage systems in place are working effectively and there should be no cause for alarm.
“We’re hoping that we won’t have any severe situation which will cause any long lasting discomfort to any person,” Minister Benn told this newspaper.
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