Unprecedented floods affecting parts of Berbice

Guyana Chronicle
December 29, 1999

FLOODING of an unprecedented nature is creating havoc in Berbice where several villages in Canje and the Corentyne have been affected by incessant downpours.

The showers, which started at weekend and continued through Monday, hit hardest at Number Two village, Canje and between Seawell and Bholam, Corentyne, where large empty plots and residential areas are submerged in more than 20 inches of water.

The deluge has left depressing scenes in those communities with yards and bottom flats inundated, foot bridges swept away by murky water and villagers wading in sometimes knee high pools.

Cattle and poultry are facing the brunt of what some people describe as the worse floods in recent years.

Makeshift arrangements were necessary for domestic birds while cattle remain at roadsides.

Basmattie Saram and her husband, Anwar Khan, who operate a small grocery, at Number Seven Village, Corentyne, told the Chronicle the situation is having a negative impact on their business.

The shop on the lower flat of their house has been closed since Saturday with above eight inches of water in the place and the bridge leading to it afloat.

Dolly Lindie, a housewife who has been living at Lewis Manor, another Corentyne village, for 28 years, declared she and her family are experiencing a disaster.

She reported that some species of reptile ate one of her ducks three nights ago and she fears further such loss and harm from other predators in nearby rice fields while she and the family continue dwelling in water.

Harrichand Sahadoo, a rice farmer of Susanak, also on the Corentyne, said it could take between three days and a week after the floods recede to assess the total damage.

He recalled a previous occasion and blamed it on ineffective drainage.

Sahadoo claimed the main koker at Seawell is inadequate to drain a three-mile expanse but other sufferers said there is a breach in the sea defence.

Bohemia Health Centre compound, at Corentyne as well, is secure from seepage by its high concrete foundation.

A spokesman for Seawell/Bholam Neighbourhood Democratic Council, giving his only name as Gounden, told the Chronicle: "I am monitoring the situation".

Overseer of Cumberland/Palmyra Neighbourhood Democratic Council, Mr Godfrey Evans said his administration anticipated the occurrence and is prepared.

He said both of the kokers at Cumberland and in the vicinity of Canje Bridge are working and, in about two days, Number Two and Palmyra would be relieved of the approximately 10 inches of water that accumulated up to yesterday morning.

In New Amsterdam, the excess flow has drained and life has returned to normal but reports state that people living in other parts of Corentyne, at Alness, Manchester, Whim, Auchlyne and Crabwood Creek are still in the plight. (CALVIN MARSHALL)

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