Flooding now an annual feature in Victoria
Residents blame drainage officials Stabroek News
June 14, 2002

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Thousands of dollars in livestock and property are being damaged as persistent heavy rainfall coupled with a dysfunctional water pump continue to inundate the village of Victoria, East Coast Demerara.

Flooding has become an annual disaster in the village and on Wednesday scores of Victorians converged on the main road lamenting the situation. Some berated the authorities responsible for drainage.

For the past three years the village has been experiencing flooding during this period. Over the years, it was observed that only when it began to rain personnel at the pump station discover that there was a fault with the pump. Even though the pump would have stopped working weeks before the rainy season stepped in, nothing would be done to correct the situation.

Chairman of the Community Development Council, Randolph Blackette, told this newspaper that apart from the dysfunctional pump and heavy rainfall, there were many clogged trenches, which had not been attended to for a prolonged period. He said that the Grove/ Haslington Neighbourhood Democratic Council would normally clean moss from the trenches, but many of them had collected huge blocks of wood and other debris. He called on the NDC to look into the conditions of the village, noting that he was being affected since much of his livestock had been put out of their pens as his farm was inundated.

He said that throughout last week the water level kept rising. Heavy rain on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning saw many residents building makeshift bridges. Those who had no materials were forced to plough through the water. Scores of school children, workers, farmers and other residents were observed holding their shoes in hand. Young men on their way to work in the city were seen putting on their pants on the road. Many of the cash crops farmers were forced to abandon their farms because of the flood.

Stabroek News saw water under the homes of residents. Waste from the many pit latrines and septic tanks was visible to this newspaper. The flood has also affected the water distribution system in the village. Most of the residents' standpipes were covered with the water.

Stabroek News understands that some parents have been keeping their children home since the flood and teachers of the Victoria primary and nursery schools acknowledged a drop in attendance.

Conditions are grim and might remain this way for a while as there is no indication as to when the pump will be repaired or replaced. "I don't know what's wrong with these people. They always with this thing. Every year now you have to look forward for a flood, because if we continue to experience the May-June rainy season here in Guyana, Victoria will always get flooded," a young man from the village said. The youth, Marlon Marks, was seen, trousers in hand, on Wednesday morning sloshing through the water to get to work on time. He said that beneath his house the water was about four two feet high and his dogs, meat birds and other livestock were now being housed on his steps. He said that usually he would spend a little time on the road before he went to bed at night, but since the flood he had to be in his home early.

However, while flooding is severe at the back of the village those who are residing on the northern side have not been affected. In the year 2000 the village had experienced its worst flood when a section of the conservancy dam broke. This flood saw the water rising some three feet high and remaining on the land for at least a month before the dam was repaired.