Temporary works being carried out by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on four sections of the West Demerara (WCD) sea defence structure which were destroyed by recent high spring tides have been halted due to shortage of materials.
In an interview with Guyana Times, Chairman of the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) of Uitvlugt/Tuschen, Vishal Ambedkar, explained that the CDC, in collaboration with the Public Infrastructure Ministry, has effected temporary repairs
along the seawall by placing boulders to fill the gaps.
“What we’ve been told is that rap-facing protecting has been done; that is actually boulder face protection,” Ambedkar noted.
Two construction companies were hired to mend the seawalls and construct drainage along the area. The chairman said members of the CDC were present at the site during the repairing of the sea defence, but he cannot definitively say whether they had physically participated in the works being done.
The equipment used to repair the breakages was removed on Monday, and works have been halted due to shortage of materials, Ambedkar explained.
“What we’ve been told is that the machinery that were working there have been removed. They are awaiting new materials, and as soon as those materials are available to them, they will be going back on site,” the chairman explained during a visit by Guyana Times.
Asked when the sea defence structures would be permanently fixed, he noted,
“The Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, has indicated to us that they will be sending a team from the respective agency (to look) at the sea defence, to do an assessment of what needs to be done.”
Residents of the area are presently still engaged in cleaning-up activities, and damages are still being assessed.
Ambedkar said that residents were informed that another high tide will occur around Easter. He added, “With climate change, it’s evident that the situation that occurred here will definitely happen again. Our task here at the NDC will be trying to minimize the effects of flooding in the future.”
The NDC of Uitvlugt/Tuschen has always assisted with the cleaning of drains and the removal of garbage along the coast. Ambedkar noted that the Minister of State had also informed last week that compensation will be given to the residents, but it is not known whether all damages would attract compensation.
“There will be need for financial assistance based on our assessment, so that persons can have their livelihoods restored,” he told this publication.
PPP MP Irfaan Ali also stated that a letter which provided an update on the flooding, together with a list of emergency actions which should be taken to assist residents at the earliest opportunity, was sent to Minister Patterson.
Guyana Times saw a copy of the letter, which highlighted that the Tuschen-Uitvlugt area had received immense damage, and that many other villages in the area had suffered enormously from the flooding, thus damages should be assessed there as well. The villages mentioned included Hague, Cornelia Ida, Anna Catherina, Leonora and Stewartville. (Rupadai Seenaraine)