Black Bush Polder flood: Day 13
– as NDIA shifts blame to Regional Administration
Today makes it 13 days since Johanna and Yakusari in Black Bush Polder have been flooded with no assistance from the Government and the NDIA is blaming the Regional Administration.
While residents and farmers continue to battle with the water, disease and loss of crops, Government continues to turn a blind eye to the situation.
On Tuesday, a team from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) visited the sluice at Joppa, Number 43 Village, and the outfall channel to access ongoing works there.
A senior official noted that work is progressing well while adding that the agency has been able to identify the problems which caused flooding in the two polders.
“It is the outfall channel which we are clearing now and we had to wait until the rains started so there would be water in the system to flush it,” the official said.
He added that the situation at the mouth of the sluice and vegetation in the Yakusari canal were the other two factors which caused the flooding.
However, this publication had pointed out those very factors from the first day of the flood.
In fact, the day prior to the two polders being inundated, Guyana Times had pointed out those three factors as they relate to flooding in the Black Bush Polder.
Meanwhile, the NDIA official said the agency is only responsible for the clearing of the outfall channel.
“The region has the responsibility for the canal, the pump and the canal.” Regional Vice Chairman Dennis DeRoop put the blame back on the NDIA, claiming that the 150-foot wide canal with floating grass cannot cause flooding.
However, he admitted that the canal had not been cleared for the year.
“The REO (Regional Executive Officer) failed to get a contractor to do the cleaning,” he told this publication on Tuesday evening. DeRoop further stated that the NDIA has the responsibility for the 300 feet in front of the sluice door.
“Because this was not cleaned the pump could not work,” DeRoop said.
The pump at Joppa had only worked for five hours and ten minutes in one week because of siltation.
DeRoop said he asked the REO to send an excavator to the residential areas of the affected polders to help to ease the flooding there.
“The REO is sending the machines to other places where there is no emergency. They are playing politics with people’s lives.”
On Tuesday, residents told this publication that no one from the Government has visited since the flood started.
Balgai Rajkumar of South Yakusari said the flood water was at her door for one week. She, like many other cash crop farmers, complained of losing all of her crop as a result of the almost two weeks of flooding.
Residents in North Yakusari reported children falling ill, resulting in them being unable to attend school.
“The nurses from the health centre tell us that they coming Monday and I wait home and nobody come. I wait home whole day today (Tuesday) and nobody come,” one resident said.
As the Yakusari Primary School compound remains under water, students reported seeing a snake in the water on Monday.
One teacher said the reptile which was spotted in the water is considered a dangerous snake. Residents said the water had started receding but a downpour on Monday took them back to square one. (Andrew Carmichael)