Mar 20, 2011 News
More rains for flood-weary farmers…
Rains, which had let up for two days after drenching Guyana for the past week, unleashed its fury again yesterday forcing authorities to again start releasing waters from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) into the Mahaica Creek.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, more than five inches of rain fell during a six-hour period yesterday, with the level of the EDWC rising to dangerous levels again. It would be the second time last week that the government was forced to release waters from the conservancy, a situation which they said was taken after much deliberations.
“The EDWC Board has been forced to resume controlled discharge out of the Maduni and Lama Sluices. With the high level for rainfall recorded in those areas, this will compound the flood condition in the Mahaica and Mahaicony River communities,” the Ministry said in a release.
Minister Robert Persaud and engineers of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority led a team to the Mahaica/Mahaicony Creek yesterday to assess the situation.
“Also, residents in other low-lying areas along the Coast and inland regions are asked to take maximum precaution. All the relevant agencies are on a high state of responsiveness and alert.”
The rains, blamed on the La Nina weather phenomenon which started last August, would be affecting rice and sugarcane cultivations which restarted Thursday after respite.
It was estimated that 1,200 acres of rice has been lost across the country due to flooding but authorities expected this figure to decrease. In the Mahaica area, around 60 acres were lost but farmers were able to work through Wednesday and Thursday night, minimizing the extent of losses, rice officials said.
The Guyana Sugar Corporation had restarted harvesting and grinding operations at five estates but these were again affected by the rains yesterday, Kaieteur News was told.
The release of the waters of the EDWC into the Mahaica Creek from the Lama and Maduni has
been described as a last resort by Government.
With the five door sluice at Land of Canaan, the main outlet, authorities have argued that releasing excess waters from EDWC is the only way to prevent overtopping of the dam that separates the conservancy and the residents and farmlands.
Government is currently building a $3B relief channel at Hope/Dochfour, East Coast Demerara which it says will vastly reduce flooding and the need to release waters into the Mahaica Creek.
On Friday, the Minister insisted that the need for the relief channel is even more crucial now with the uncertainties of the weather and the limitations of the current outlets at Land of Canaan.
He also announced a $255M assistance package for affected farmers.
These include seeds and fertilizers and dam repairs to the tune of $24M.
Vet supplies for around $10M and support for cash crop farmers for $13M had also been allocated.
Drainage and Irrigation works amounting to $190M are to be carried out.
There are 10 teams from the Ministry out across the country assisting farmers and assessing the situation and will be working through to the May/June rains, the Minister said Friday.
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