Every effort being made to combat flooding
--Sawh assures coastal communities
By Chamanlall Naipaul
January 6, 2004
Minister of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock Mr Satyadeow Sawh, who is also performing the duties of Minister of Agriculture, has given the assurance that every effort is being made to contain flooding along coastal areas caused by heavy rainfall over the past two weeks.
In a comment to the Chronicle yesterday, the Minister said that by today the situation should be stabilised with all of his Ministry’s drainage pumps functioning except the one at Huntley, Cane Grove. That pump had been disabled by mechanical problems. However, it should be back in operation sometime today, the Minister said.
As regards flooding in the Liliendaal/Turkeyen area, Sawh explained that the pump there is not functioning. But, he pointed out, since that machine is under the jurisdiction of the Georgetown City Council, it is the Council’s responsibility to ensure that the pump is in working condition.
The Minister nevertheless conceded that under the circumstances his Ministry would like to help the City Council in the effort to contain flooding, but at the moment its resources are “stretched to the limit.”
To further assess the effects of the heavy downpours, Sawh announced that today he would be visiting affected areas in Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands).
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Drainage and Irrigation Board (ND & IB), Mr Ravi Narine, who made a visit to villages on the East Coast Demerara said that while the areas are under water, the situation is stable as there is no increase in water levels. He added that pumps at Straathoven, Golden Grove, Hope, Enmore, Triumph and Montrose are all in operation.
Asked if there are any threats of disastrous flooding, Narine replied in the negative pointing that the high-intensity rains are almost over. He noted that the drainage and irrigation system is designed to handle one (level) of water, but because of the heavy downpours, the water level in the affected areas has risen appreciably to three inches.
As regards threats to crops and livestock, the CEO said no assessment has been done, but he opined that many rice farmers are now replanting and would welcome the rains. He added that during next week, this aspect of the flooding would be addressed.
Chief Hydrometereological Officer Dilip Jaigopaul told the Chronicle it is anticipated that the intensity of the current rainfall should begin to decline from the second week of this month. He further stated that it is normal to experience such weather during this period.
According to Jaigopaul, the recorded rainfall for December 2003 is 304.7 millimetres while the average for the month of December is 261.9 millimetres thus there was a minimal increase of 40 millimetres. However, he noted that the problem has been created as a result of the continuous downpour on consecutive days.
Jaigopaul observed that Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica) has mainly been affected and explained this is because of oscillation and instability in the Inter-Tropical Climate Zone (ITCZ).