Floods hit Cane Grove farms
-little relief for East Coast By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
January 7, 2004

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Farmers in Cane Grove are counting losses from damaged crops and lost livestock as floodwaters barely receded yesterday along the East Coast.

Stabroek News returned to the flood-hit areas and observed that apart from Turkeyen and Felicity where the water seemed to be receding the situation remained much the same.

At Sophia, in the C, D and E Fields, water was now around 12 inches deep.

A resident of `C' Field said she could not send her children to school due to the flood. She said the water had begun to accumulate along her street last Wednesday and by Saturday had already gathered under her house. She has three children all below the age of ten. The woman said she was hoping to send the children to school on Monday but the rising water coupled with their floating bridge made her change her mind.

"Ah bin want to send them to school, but de bridge floating away now and this water too high me ain't taking any risk, maybe next week when the water drop."

At the compounds of the University of Guyana and Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) the water was still very high.

The concrete strip, which leads to the UG facilities, was covered on the previous days but yesterday it was dry. The playground was still submerged as well as areas around the library and other sections of the campus.

Stabroek News was told that the library had been temporarily closed due to water seeping through its floor and that some books were soaked.

At CPCE life was still rough for students in residence. A few of them were seen peering through windows, while the dank administrative offices and classrooms remained closed.

Meanwhile, the one working Liliendaal pump which serviced the area was in operation at the time of this newspaper's visit. However, no work was being carried out on the other pump which broke down about a month ago. An official at the M&CC told this newspaper yesterday that efforts were being made to re-activate the pump. The assistant pump attendant at Liliendaal had told this newspaper that engineers had begun working on the pump but due to bad weather they had had to stop. There was no rain during the course of yesterday but there was still no work on the pump.

At Felicity the water is going down a little. The area is serviced by the Montrose pumps all of which are working but the water there is still very high. Moreover, there is a large swamp in front of the Minister of Education, Henry Jeffrey's Montrose residence. The water up to yesterday had submerged the concrete strip which leads to the minister's home.

Stabroek News again met Ronald Reis and his wife Bibi Khan in their Felicity bottom-flat apartment which is still swamped. The couple told this newspaper that they were now searching for a place to move. Ronald said he could no longer put up with the water which stinks.

He said they had already cleaned out some of their furniture which was soiled and would soon move out.

At Triumph, the two troublesome drainage pumps were back in operation. The pump attendant told this newspaper that the pumps were in good working order but whenever the tide was high they did not operate. He added that the pumps could not work around the clock because the outfall channel would sometimes overflow onto the land. At Cane Grove the situation is unbearable for farmers.

At a place called Virginia in Cane Grove large trenches had now formed in front of residents' yards and some person's farms have now turned into swampland.

Desmond Henry, a cash crop farmer estimated his losses in the region of $1M. He related to this newspaper that the flood has since damaged seven 50-rod beds of vegetables and provisions he had planted. Henry said he lost beds of cassava, ochro, bora, squash and plantain suckers.

Goolcharan, a 70-year-old livestock farmer lost several chickens, common breed fowls and ducks. He said while some persons were using their own pumps to drain their yards he had none and as such he had to watch helplessly as each passing day one or two of his livestock succumbed.

The old man said he was now contemplating shifting his livestock to a friend whose yard was not flooded.

Farmers Marlon Clarke and Dellon Houston have also reported significant losses.

Stabroek News was told by the pump attendant at Cane Grove that two of the three drainage pumps were working, while the third had been inoperable for several years now. The attendant said they had tried to drain the area on a regular basis but overtopping in the Mahaica creek was preventing them opening up the kokers and also draining the water. He said they had to wait until the tide was low and the water in the Mahaica creek dropped.

Dean added that apart from the two pumps there were two others at the back of the village, but both of them were malfunctioning. Stabroek News observed a group of men using a small pump to help drain some of the water out of yards.