– rains reach record levels in February
Authorities have repeated warnings of more showers for today’s Mashramani celebrations even as rainfall surpassed record levels for this month.
While there are no immediate fears that more flooding could result from a swiftly rising East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC), government officials yesterday said that repairs are being carried out on at least one Essequibo dam which suffered damage from the heavy rains which swept the country over the weekend and Monday.
According to Bhaleka Seulall, Head of the Hydrometeorological Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, for February alone, rain fell on three occasions surpassing the long term average for the month each time.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, George Jervis, and Head of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth, also said that waters are receding in most of the areas although many communities remain under water.
Yesterday, a government team flew to Region Two, Essequibo Coast, to assess the situation.
Rains, coinciding with a spring tide, resulted in water levels rising even more dramtically, especially in the city on Monday evening, before the pumps kicked in. The spring tide is expected to end this morning.
There were several calls from residents who feared that breaches had occurred on the East Bank of Demerara and in the East Berbice area, but nothing was confirmed as of yesterday, with the Ministry’s officials saying it had not yet received reports of any significant losses.
According to Jervis, officers of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) and the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), are on the ground assessing and reporting to the Ministry on the situation.
Levels of the EDWC and other conservancies across the country are also being constantly monitored.
Jervis noted that the emergency team had been on standby since December in expectation of heavy rains. The team kicked into high gear over the past few days, deploying pumps and working with farmers and affected residents.
According to Wordsworth, the heavy rains averaged between 2-6 inches, severely taxing the drainage structures built to take off up to 1.5 inches in a 24-hour period. Waters from the EDWC were yesterday being released into the Demerara River while the conservancies in Essequibo were nearing their full capacity.
In Region Two (Essequibo Coast) and Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands), the flood waters are receding, while the levels of the Mahaica and Mahaicony Rivers are being closely monitored.
Tractor-driven pumps and resources of the Guyana Sugar Corporation are also being used, the officials said.
According to Seulall, the La Nina spell started in August and is expected to end next month.
Wordsworth dispelled any fears that the EDWC could cause any immediate flooding because of the current levels.
As indicated, several villages remained under water on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara yesterday.
At Onion Field, LBI, there was more than two feet of water in some yards.
Delores Todd, a mother of three, lost most of her kitchen garden. A number of her goats also fled with some being found in neighboring communities.
Another resident, who asked to only be referred to as Desiree, who lives not far way, lost her ducks and a significant quantity of duck feed.
“I ain’t see nuutin’ like dis since 2005 (floods),” said Ralph Mangroo, whose kitchen at Felicity, was swamped. He has now decided to move that facility to his upper flat.
At Enmore, the martyrs’ monument spoke the story all too clearly of the heavy rains.
And Ravina, of Newtown, Enmore, lost her black water tank after it came crashing down from a trestle.
Residents of Coomacka and Kwakwani, Region 10, and at Laluni, on the East Bank, also complained of very high water in their communities.
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