Govt meets with contractors on Mahaicony sea defence breach

─ 4 stone suppliers, 5 contractors with equipment met on Thursday
─ 50,000 tonnes of boulders needed in Dantzig to Fairfield impacted area
─ pumps will assist in draining water from Bellamy Canal to the Atlantic

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, October 3, 2019

Minister of Public Infrastructure, Hon. David Patterson disclosed that he has met with contractors concerning the breach of the Mahaicony’s earthen embankment caused by the recent spring tides.

“They are to provide me information by tomorrow [Friday] morning on what equipment they have, what stones they have available in their stockyards at the moment, and their opinion on what they see is the easiest and fastest way to get materials in here,” the Public Infrastructure Minister said.

This comment was made while the minister was overseeing emergency works along Mahaicony foreshore. Among the persons he met were 4 stone suppliers and 5 contractors with the necessary equipment and the experience doing sea defence works.

Based on the current stage of the damage assessment to the foreshore, it is estimated that 50,000 tonnes of boulders are needed to execute emergency works along the impacted area between Dantzig and Fairfield.

Minister Patterson noted that his ministry’s primary focus is to seal the breaches as the next spring tide is scheduled to occur in 23 days.

“The next spring tide is October 26, so we are maximizing the time. As long as there is no rain, we should be able to at least get to all the breaches and do some intervention. While we may not be able to stop the overtopping by the 26, we want to stop the water coming in with free access,” Minister Patterson continued.

Currently, one of the breaches is inaccessible. To arrest this situation, numerous excavators are extracting mud from the Bellamy Canal to build a wall behind the existing boulders along the foreshore. This is needed to facilitate the traffic of equipment and materials to the sites that were breached.

Within the impacted zone, two pumps are being installed to drain water from the Bellamy Canal that runs parallel to the earthen embankment and the Atlantic Ocean. One is expected to be in operation by the end of Thursday, while the other will be on-site and working on Friday, with more to follow in coming days.

Minister Patterson also met with residents in Mahaicony to reassure them that all of the government’s resources are being directed to ensure the breach is sealed.

It is estimated that 400 households across 65 coastal communities have been affected by the sea defence breach caused by spring tide during September 26 to October 2. In response, the twenty-four-hour National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) was activated. Thus far, the areas affected are farmlands in Mahaicony, and regions along the coast with exception to Region 1.

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and ministerial teams are coordinating the disaster relief efforts throughout the impacted areas.

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