Unprecedented rainfall inundates East Berbice

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
February , 2000

Rains which began late on Saturday and persisted for more than 24 hours dumped several inches of water on the East Berbice coast, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Berbicians. The rains described by many senior citizens as unparallelled in recent history began late on Saturday afternoon on the upper Corentyne and swept north-westerly down to Rose Hall Town, New Amsterdam, East and West Canje and the East Bank Berbice.

However, according to a municipal source at Corriverton, the township was relatively dry with only one section under some water. The efficiency of the drainage system was attributed to recent rehabilitation and maintenance works undertaken by the council. Several central Corentyne villages were, however, not spared the torrential rains and the flooding that followed.

According to one Liverpool woman she was unable to leave her home or drive her car because of some six inches of water which had covered her entire yard and the bridge to her home. Apart from the residential areas all of the cultivation areas were also covered by the water. Poultry and livestock were threatened with pens and savannahs under inches of water.

In the Black Bush Polder area hundreds of farmsteads were inundated, with farmers expressing fears of losing millions in cash crops under cultivation. According to one farmer, "the water has covered everything and we are likely to lose most of our cash crops."

At Rose Hall, the municipal market was forced to close because of the flood. According to a municipal source there was some six inches of water in the swamp section of the town. An irrigator, he said, was working around the clock to pump the water out of the area.

In New Amsterdam low-lying areas were up to yesterday under several inches of water including Vryman's Erven, Islington, the Mayor and Town Council and Bermine Housing schemes, and Mount Sinai. The Little Rock Television Station (LRTS) Channel 10 was surrounded by inches of water.

Regional Chairman Rohit Persaud told Stabroek News yesterday that some eight inches of rainfall was recorded over the weekend. "We are working around the clock to alleviate the situation," he said. "The areas affected are Crabwood Creek and areas between Lancaster and Susannah including Black Bush Polder."

According to the chairman, Fyrish and Les Beholden, Black Bush Polder are in a bad state but "we are seeking to rent a few pumps to assist." One large mobile pump was at Eversham which was also draining some Black Bush areas. The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) was also assisting through its pumps which are working around the clock. In Black Bush, he said, some 14,000 acres of 18,000 acres ploughed had already been planted.

Chairman of the Drainage and Irrigation Board, Ravi Narine, was expected in the region today to assess the situation. According to Persaud, government has ordered six new pumps, four of which will be allocated to East Berbice.