Bracing ourselves for the May-June rains
Guyana Chronicle
April 30, 2007

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The hydro-meteorological forecast that there could be a 40 per cent higher rainfall in the current May-June season has pushed government agencies into top gear as they plan to meet this probable deluge.

The spectre of the disastrous 2005 floods still haunts us at times, and we still feel that we were caught napping when they came.

We had never experienced anything like it before, and we used to look upon heavy rainfall as nothing more than a bother, here today and gone tomorrow.

Things are now not the same.
A heavy shower comes, falls for an hour or two, and the frightening pictures from the 2005 inundation flash across our mind and we shiver as we recall the devastation.

It is clear that back then regional administrations and other agencies responsible for drainage and irrigation had become complacent as no big floods ever came. And so the facilities were woefully neglected and broken down.

Added to this was our penchant to litter, clogging our drains and waterways with all sorts of waste.

As the May-June rains are being ushered in ( a few showers over the past few days could be a harbinger to heavier downpours) we notice that the Agriculture Ministry and others concerned with seeing that we are prepared for the heavy rainfall are meeting and alerting the general public as to their preparedness to see that what happened in 2005 does not recur.

They are also appealing to us for support, asking that sluices be taken good care of and that we see to it that we do not dump garbage in our drains.

Government preparations also include an additional $410M in equipment.

Despite technological advances in weather forecasting, itís still a challenge to be 100 per cent accurate in our predictions on natural disasters.

Monsoons, tornadoes, tsumanis and the like strike with little warning; and even when they are forecast, there is sometimes little we could do to reduce the devastation.

Fortunately, we on the South American coast are affected only by flooding, barring an occasional tremor when an earthquake strikes in our twin-island sister nation, Trinidad and Tobago.

At a recent press briefing, the Agriculture Minister disclosed that Guyana had received a link from Cubaís National Weather Service which is capable of providing fairly accurate warnings, some times as early as three days before torrential rainfall comes on us.

Data from our Hydromet office indicate that there has been above normal rainfall in Regions Six, Seven, Eight and Nine, and that the May-June rains could run into August.

The levels of our water conservancies are being closely monitored.

It would seem that we are ready for the rains.

But we must not vandalise the sluices, as has happened in the past, and theft of parts from pump houses and interference with drainage structures could be inimical to all the preparation we have gone through.

Letís hope all goes well and we are able to deal with whatever rainfall comes our way.