Coomacka community deals with aftermath of flooding

Residents of Coomacka who were adversely affected by severe flooding in the community last Friday are now trying to put their lives back together.
The situation, which occurred following just over one hour of intense rainfall, resulted in destruction to the community’s main access road as well as damages to over 30 residents’ yards and homes.

Erosion to the main access road caused by the flooding

Residents and officials have since pointed to issues with a dam which was constructed to the tune of $48 million about 6 months ago as one of the leading causes of the situation, coupled with the overtopping of culverts in the area.
The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) have since visited the affected areas and distributed cleaning and sanitising agents. The agencies have also commenced works to rectify the situation.
Coomacka Community Development Council (CDC) Chairman Dexter Harding on Monday stated that an investigation revealed that the multi-million-dollar dam which was constructed through the NDIA was incomplete and therefore could not have withstood the intensity of the flow of water on Friday.
Residents have also expressed concerns following the flood, noting that parts of the dam had already started to break away. In the aftermath, sections of the community, including its main access road, have been partially eroded.
“One of the reasons why part of the community was so much impacted by this flooding is because of the dam, part of it was broken away so they contact the contractor…because the work was not finished… The dam was not finished because they claimed that they had to do some other work… So they contacted the contractor to come and rectify the eroded area on the dam and to complete the job”, Harding noted.
He stressed that additional tubing is expected to be placed inside the dam so that it can take off the intensity of the flow of water.
“They only put 2 tubing in the dam and apparently it couldn’t take off the water…so those are things they’re going to be working on and they’re going to open up the entire network of the drains in the community”, Harding said.
The CDC Chairman explained that as a result of collaboration between the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the NDIA, excavators have been working in the community since Saturday to bring some relief to the residents.
“The excavators are going to be in here around 7 days a week to clear out the drains and so on…We had direct impact where the water go through the individuals’ homes and damage up a few things like sofa, things in the homes and through the yards”, he pointed out.
Harding related that residents were still trying to clean up their homes and yards on Monday. Over 30 homes in the community were at risk as residents expressed more concern given the current atmosphere surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents have also expressed concerns that water flow from a bauxite mining pit during high-intensity rains has led to issues with culverts which they noted are unable to take off the level of water pressure. This, they indicated, leads to overtopping on the roadway which results in flooding and severe damages. According to Harding, they have not experienced such heavy rainfall in the community for some time.
“It’s couple years well, 4 or 5 years we haven’t had a rainfall like this. The rain, it really poured and it overtopped the culverts. The culverts couldn’t take off the water”, he reiterated.
In moving forward, the CDC Chairman said recommendations are being made for the RDC to take a closer look at the culverts in the community. There are also plans for works to be carried out in front of the yards of residents affected by erosion.
“I’m really happy to see the quick response…to see the immediate work being put out… I’m asking the authorities and the RDC to continue working with the CDC… work with the authorities in the community so that we can iron out these situations”, Harding urged.