By Leonard Gildarie and Jenelle Carter
Spring tides, said to be the highest in decades, left several communities under water for hours yesterday, and substantial damage.
A number of villages around the country even those not traditionally prone to flooding, saw waters rising, with even Stabroek Market under water last evening.
Losses are now being estimated in the millions for the thousands of residents caught off guard by the flood waters.
Even New Amsterdam, not known for flooding, was affected by overtopping.
Government officials confirmed that almost all the coastal areas including Leguan, were also affected.
According to Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, the spring tide peaked at 3.36 meters (approximately 11 feet) shortly after 16:00 hrs yesterday.
In the city, water was seen running through the car parks, flooding the Vendors’ Arcade and even reaching as far as Avenue of the Republic, leaving workers stunned and scurrying to get home.
According to Benn, rainfall over the past days compounded the situation, swelling rivers more by than half of a foot.
Authorities have said that the tides will continue until Sunday with more overtopping expected today. This afternoon, the tide is expected to rise around 17:00 hrs.
And as if news of the spring tide was not enough, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Hydrometeorological Service yesterday warned that parts of Guyana, especially Regions 1-7, are likely to see periods of heavy rainfall coupled with thundershowers as early as today because of a low pressure system in the region.
Yesterday, the waters of the Demerara River overtopped its banks around 04:00 hrs in the morning running on the public roads at Friendship Village, East Bank Demerara, and Sisters’ Village on the West Bank.
Several other villages including Craig, Hope, Bagotstown, Diamond and Little Diamond and Herstelling also reported sudden flooding.
The hardest hit was Sisters’ Village which left several cars submerged and water from the river running on the public road.
“I living here for over 40 years and never had flooding from the river. This hard,” cried a senior citizen whose roadside home was swamped and with her blocked drains, the water was slow in receding.
“This flooding happen so fast that within five minutes de water up to one foot in meh house,” said Persaud, whose furniture was outside as his family attempted to mop up.
The scene was the same along the public road with cars badly damaged from the salt water.
“I think the head joint blow after I try to start the car,” said one man whose Toyota Corolla was covered by water up to the music deck.
The damaged cars lined the roadway.
At Craig, the flooding has become a norm whenever there is spring tide. The Safari Inn Hotel in Friendship was under water and residents confirmed that flood water, for a second time for the day, was flooding the public road in that village.
In Berbice, in addition to New Amsterdam, Number 66 Village, Glasgow, Sisters Village and countless others were under a foot of water.
While losses are stilled being counted, the speed of the water rising was what left residents at a loss and there was not enough time to prepare.
Officials said that they have been airing warnings on the television and on radio.
Kaieteur News was bombarded by flooding calls with many persons along the Demerara River claiming that there were breaches.
“There is little we can do to control something of this magnitude,” an official of the Sea and River Defence Unit said. According to Minister Benn, who visited ‘Plastic City’, Vreed-en-Hoop, West Demerara, the waters were receding, but the tide had taken its toll on a number of ongoing government works.
At Goed Fortuin, the flooding was said to be bad because of damage done to the defence works there by fishing boats and cows.
Also on a visit to the West Bank Demerara area was Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture, in a statement yesterday, said that its’ National Drainage and Irrigation Authority has mobilized and deployed equipment and engineers to support the Sea Defence Unit of the Ministry of Public Works and other local government bodies to deal with overtopping of river banks and sea defence structures.
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