Open koker causes flooding, severe damage at Wakenaam
By Harry Seymour
May 2, 2000
Some Wakenaam residents had a rude awakening yesterday at about 1:00 am when they discovered water in their rooms.
The flooding affected the heart of the business and residential areas of San Souci and Melville and left millions of dollars worth of damage in its wake.
A koker which was tied open with a chain has been cited as the cause of the problem. It is suspected that this was done by some farmers to allow water to enter their rice fields which lie adjacent to the housing area in the village. Several men have been held by the Wakenaam police for questioning. Four children who were asleep on a ground level bed were saved from drowning by their mother who was awakened by a neighbour. Raywattie Harnarine told Stabroek News that she was awakened by a neighbour named Jasmattie and as soon as she swung her feet off the bed on which she was sleeping, she touched water. She immediately went into the adjacent room where she found the four children ages three to 11 years old sound asleep in two inches of water.
Reyaz Ahmad, a mechanic, suffered losses to electrical appliances and other equipment to the tune of over $1 million. These included welding and generating sets and refrigerators, some of which had just been repaired.
Over 100 bags of copra valued at more than $300,000 belonging to N&K Mustakeen were soaked. The copra was to have been shipped to Georgetown yesterday.
Pamela Ramdeen who owns a boutique that sells brand name garments suffered extensive damage. She told Stabroek News that she was awakened by the sound of water gushing into her store. However, some residents were fortunate to escape damage to their property because they awoke early enough and were able to take steps to avoid it.
Books and equipment at the Wakenaam Learning Centre and Library were saved from damage by an alert guard who ran to the home of the vice-chairman of the Wakenaam Neighbourhood Council and reported the flooding of the compound. Steps were then taken to move the articles to higher ground.
Goods at Salima Store were also lifted to higher ground after neighbours raised the alarm. Stabroek News was told that it was not the practice to open this particular koker to irrigate rice land, as this koker was only intended to drain the village.