CDC distributes hampers to flood-affected Little Diamond residents
–Public Works, Agriculture Ministers join CDC in on-the-ground assessment
The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has started distributing relief hampers to flood-affected residents of Little Diamond, East Bank Demerara, following an assessment of the area. The hampers included sanitation items while others contained foodstuff.
On Monday, over 100 households were inundated due to a breach at a dam in the community, which is currently being repaired by BK International Incorporated.
Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha, Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Robeson Benn, and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Hon. Deodat Indar visited the area to assess the situation.
Minister Edghill said the incident would be investigated, as the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) had awarded the contract to BK in 2017, but only the koker was completed.
“The dam that they should have built, they did not construct it to the height. The first question I asked, ‘what is the measurement?’ And knowing the height of the tide during spring time, because what is going to happen there, if they continue like that, every spring tide you will have a problem.”
The Minister said efforts are also being made to provide other support to those affected.
“I am making that commitment. I will speak to my Cabinet colleagues. The CDC is already doing some assessment; they came in with some relief items. The contractor may very well have to be penalised to compensate the people.”
Additionally, Minister Mustapha believes the contractor did not act responsibly to fix the issue since according to residents, there was a breach on Sunday, which caused less damage.
“The breach is caused by the negligence of the contractor who is performing the duty here, because residents reported that there was a machine on the dam that they built, and it seems like the machine had some issue and they tried to remove it and after that we had this situation,” he said.
During his engagements with residents, it was found that they suffered loss of foodstuff and damage to appliances and furniture. In some cases, livestock were also affected by the flood.
Minister Mustapha has since instructed his heads of department to conduct further assessments in the area. “I am now preparing a report and we will see what we can do,” he relayed.
Meanwhile, Minister Indar said he is saddened by the situation.
“I felt it for them. I saw persons crying. We will work with the CDC and our engineers from the Sea Defence Department to give support.
Today, they are working from the koker coming back, and the NDIA Chief Executive Officer has committed that he would send another machine to try to clean the trench alone, the koker as well, so that when water come in, it goes out quickly,” Minister Indar said.
Residents said the waters came rushing in around 3:00am. Mr. Habeeb Franklin told DPI that this is not the first time Little Diamond has been affected by high levels of water, but today’s episode was more troubling.
The CDC will continue to monitor the situation and conduct follow-up assessments.