Two days ago as I stood on this huge beach at Coomacka, I wondered at the way the activities of man could change the landscape forever!
For a few decades ago, this beach was not there, at least it did not form a prominent feature of the landscape as it does now.
Today the Demerara River is under threat of being bridged by the beach.
To some people this might sound like a novelty idea but to Coomacka residents it could spell doom; for the larger the beach grows, the greater the threat of flooding. And this area has had its fair share of flooding over the years.
But as with nearly everything else, the people of this community seems to have become resigned to their fate, for according to them, all they keep getting are promises and more promises. Promises to dredge the river, that’s never dredged, and promises to fix the road, that never gets fixed!
Last year several homes in Coomacka were inundated with floodwaters from the nearby Demerara River.
Efforts by the NDIA to clear a creek in the area, using pontoon and excavator to alleviate the situation, only barely did so.
The equipment was sent to the area, subsequent to an intervention by Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud.
However residents are adamant that the flooding, and further threats of flooding cannot be alleviated by using excavators, but by having the silted up river bed dredged, and ‘carting’ away the sand, as far as possible.
The sand could be used to build up low lying areas in and around Linden, they opined.
It is the general consensus among Coomacka residents, that unless the river is dredged, flooding will continue to be a huge problem in the area and
The ever-growing beach which has exacerbated the flooding over the years, was formed over the years from sand which washes down from the East Montgomery mines.
According to residents, during mining, water that accumulates in the excavated pits has to be pumped out to facilitate works. The water is pumped into the river carrying residual gravel and sand, which builds up overtime.
It is this built up residue that has resulted in the present beach that is silting up the river and making the area prone to flooding.
Coomacka was one of the communities in Linden which was last year earmarked for dredging under the NDIA programme to alleviate flooding in Region Ten. Residents contend that such a programme should have been operational long ago, but to date no dredging has been done.
One resident opined, “They waiting for another flood, to come and make more promises!” The residents of Coomacka said that the main thoroughfare, which they are forced to use daily, is the only road in or around Linden “that don’t get fixed!”
“All we get are promises to fix the road- maybe in this election year it will get fix
But we have been waiting too long, so we don’t just want it fixed, we need a proper road; one that will stand up for years, and not have to be redone every couple of months,” several residents stated. According to them the road which is a dry weather road, becomes almost impassable whenever it rains.
Numerous craters force drivers to meander from one side of the road to the next. The road which continues to daily deteriorate, means that commuters are forced to endure these tortuous rides for egress or ingress to these communities.
Residents are adamant that it is time that both the government and the regional administration start looking into their interest, and doing something tangible to alleviate their suffering.
There is also no potable water at Coomacka, and this is also the case for other surrounding communities. So residents are forced to buy water or drink the contaminated river water.
According to residents last year officials from GWI had visited the area and done an assessment with a view to taking their services to the community. Nothing has however been done so far.
Residents now say that they feel discriminated against as opposed to their counterparts in Kwakwani, which is more than 60 miles from Linden. Kwakwani has landline telephone service, yet GT&T has not seen it fit or important to render the same service to Coomacka which is less than ten miles away from Linden. (Enid Joaquin)
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