Rainy season brings flood worries for Mahaicony residents
…breached sea defence widens
Breaches along the Mahaicony foreshore, which resulted in devastating flooding late last year, are yet to be permanently mended and residents are bracing for a similar situation as the unprotected gap widens with time.
The situation has been compounded with the current rainy season, which has brought unforeseen threats.
The collapse, which occurred between Dantzig-Fairfield at Mahaicony, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), has been extended, after a breach was reported at Content a few weeks ago. While the communities are currently experiencing a low tide, residents expressed worry about rainwater accumulating because of canals that were dug as a defence mechanism.
Last October, the sea defence suffered a major rupture and saltwater from the ocean flooded fertile lands, killing livestock and damaging crops. Moreover, millions of dollars were tallied in losses.
Speaking with this publication during an interview, Riyaad Bacchus explained that a canal was later dug on private land to prevent the water from toppling over. However, this failed and they opted to excavate another one alongside the first.
“They build the first one on private land and it didn’t work so they come back and dig another one more inside. So they keep coming in more and more and nothing is being done…There is still no defence since the last one collapse. At first, it was from Dantzig to Fairfield but there was another breach at Content so the situation now keep getting bigger,” he explained.
While this canal setup will provide coverage from the pounding Atlantic waves, it will cause rainwater to collect in the communities, with no course to drain. This is especially worrying as the rainfall season reaches its peak in the coming weeks.
He related that presently, contractors cannot access the dam to establish a proper structure because the area is flooded.
Neil Machado, who also resides close to Content, told Guyana Times, “We will get flood. Last year when the other side got flood, they put a dam by the canal and that hold the water a little. The rain season will be a big concern now too cause after they dig this canal, there is no way this water will get to out to the Atlantic side so all the rainfall water will accumulate in the land. And then you get a threat from the ocean so it gonna be hectic.”
It was explained that an excavator would have shown up to mend the breakage at Content but was unable to make any progress. He is hoping that authorities can intervene to provide a stable defence mechanism before the next high tide.
“An excavator came but there’s not much they could do cause they got to get dirt and rain fall and the whole place is a mess right now. We’re fortunate that it’s not high tide right now so the water receded back. I’m hoping by the next high tide, the weather will ease up and they will be able to fix it. The only thing they could do right now is bring in boulders from the ocean and see what they will do on that part,” the affected resident highlighted.
According to Machado, works were done along the stretch but after heavy rainfall for a couple of days, there is still no dam to protect a significant population throughout the affected villages.
“After December, [the contractor] was maintaining it but after they remove from there, the thing just break away about two weeks ago. Another contractor came and did a four-day work but then the rain came and everything wash away. So the dam is completely in the canal actually. There is no dam right now.”
Along with calls for better systems in place, farmers have requested assistance from the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute to offer guidance on how the lands can be replanted.
After the last inundation, Bacchus shared that many farmers would have sold their livestock while others were unable to rebound from their losses. The salty water has also affected the lands, inhibiting any future activities. The salt solution acts as an agent to draw water out of plants, dehydrating and eventually killing it.
“After the last flood, many people reduce their stock and cattle because many of them died the last time. So they start selling out and now the saltwater damage the land so the cattle can’t really feed on the land. If the rain continues and we get a high tide then we looking at the same thing that happened last October. The whole place would flood out. Right now, they can’t come to fix it because the place wet and they can’t access the dam,” Bacchus relayed.