Sea threatens Cornelia Ida -work continues at Vigilance

Stabroek News
November 26, 1999

Residents at Cornelia Ida on the West Coast Demerara are the latest to suffer from the country's fragile sea defence system which is under siege.

A fissure in the wall aback of the village which developed some time last week resulted in ankle deep sea water inundating yards in the neighbourhood.

A gaping hole in the wall resulting from wave erosion over the years required emergency works to halt the rising tides.

When Stabroek News visited the site yesterday afternoon, work had already been completed on sealing the breach using boulders, sand bags and cement. Mahadeo Persaud, head of the government's sea defence unit, said that it would have taken only about two to three more minutes of battering by the waves to blow the section. He said that with the waves receding, the unit was working to reinforce the area.

According to a resident, a crew from the sea defence unit had visited the area and done some remedial work on Tuesday, but this did not hold up under the pressure of the spring tide that followed.

Visual signs of washed away sand bags were evident in the vicinity where the previous works had been done.

The crew, he said, returned during the low tide and devised a different method of keeping the sea out hence the present works.

However, the resident was not at all optimistic about the quality of the work and more so the existing structure which he said was steadily deteriorating.

With the spring tide expected to be severe, the resident was fearful of the likely consequences.

High tides wrought havoc along Guyana's coast over the past few days, causing at least two breaches and much overtopping. However, the tides are now receding.

Persaud explained that the high tides were aggravated by the heavy rainfall the country experienced a few days ago as the water, which took about 72 hours to get into the low lands caused a swell and created harsher wave actions.

There was a 40 feet breach at Vigilance, East Coast Demerara on Monday morning and later in the afternoon, a five feet breach on the earthen dam at Mosquito Hall, Mahaica occurred. There was also heavy overtopping in various sections of Region Four.

Mike Lall, senior superintendent with the sea defence unit said the Mosquito Hall breach was scheduled to be sealed yesterday and work had started on the Vigilance breach. He expects the Vigilance gap to be closed this weekend.

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