The 2005 Guyana Flood Disaster
but many areas still submerged
More than two weeks after unusally high rainfall inundated Guyana's
capital city and most areas in East and West Demerara, the water level
has dropped, but not significantly between Ogle and Enmore.
This was confirmed last Sunday by Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) of the National Drainage and Irrigation Board (NDIB), Mr
Ravi Narine who estimated that if there is no rainfall and if all the
pumps are kept working, it will take one more week for the flood
levels to decrease substantially.
Others, however, do not share Narine's optimism.
Last Wednesday, Narine had projected that the waters would have
receded in seven days. That projection has now been revised.
Over the past two weeks, there have been copious
claims and counterclaims about breaches to the East Demerara Water
Conservancy (EDWC). The NDIB head said he visited the EDWC but found
no marked deterioration leading to breaches. He said that the
century-old Conservancy dam is being monitored by some 100 persons on
a minute-by-minute basis and that the army has been mandated to take
aerial photographs of the dam which are examined by the authorities.
But the Kaieteur
News reported in its
Monday edition that there was a breach "in excess of five feet
wide" in the Conservancy dam at the back of Vryheid's Lust
according to residents.
The paper stated that there were reports of seepage
through the dam and people in the affected areas were seeing dark
water, suggesting that it was coming from the conservancy.
Particularly, residents of Strathspey and Vigilance
were reporting rising flood waters on Sunday evening according to the Kaieteur
News. The water was
reportedly "clear", suggesting that it was fresh and not the
stagnant water fron the rains.
During the height of the floods, the Conservancy
dam was overtopping and this contributed significantly to the flooding
and possibly weakening of the dam.
Narine said that the approximately 60 inches of
rain that fell recently amounted to about five feet of water on the
ground. To remove this, water from the EDWC is being discharged
through the Maduni and Land of Canaan sluices but this will, in turn
affect farmers in the Mahaica area who have been warned to prepare for
the possible flooding.
The CEO of NDIB reflected on the what would happen if the rains
should continue. Water level would rise and this would complicate
things, he said.
Coping with The Great Flood: These Bryan
Mackintosh pictures show the flood situation on January 30, 2005, two
weeks after the rains came. Upper left - A community cooking centre in
Lusignan manned by volunteers that provide food for flood victims in
the area. Many such cooking locations have sprung up along the
Embankment Road and elsewhere; Upper right - Creative means have to be
devised to enter one's home when the bridge is submerged and is
nowhere to be seen; Middle - These people are entering a shelter in
Mon Repos where boats have become the only viable means of getting
around; Below - This is not a lakefront property! Deceptive as it may
seem, it is still the University of Guyana campus showing the extent
of water coverage even after the level reportedly dropped between