Mahaicony’s sea defences being monitored and strengthened

─ timber bridge constructed to facilitate works

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 29, 2019

The Ministry of Public Infrastructure is transforming numerous sites along the shoreline from Danzigt to Broomhall Mahaicony. Boulders totalling 5,000 tonnes have been laid to reinforce weakened sections of the earthen embankment.

In an exclusive interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Hon. Jaipaul Sharma, who inspected the works on Monday, spoke of measures the ministry is currently taking to prevent another breach to the embankment, like the one that occurred in Danzigt.

“Every month we monitor the situation to ascertain the level of erosion in relation to the removal of the mangroves by the aggressive waves during the high tide-spring tide,” Minister Sharma explained.

Erosion to mangroves is a natural phenomenon. This has been exacerbated by global warming, which is partly characterised by the rise in sea levels and the occurrence of more violent natural disasters.

At the Danzigt site, in Mahaicony, there is a temporary sea defence structure. This structure comprised of thousands of tons of boulders; Minister Sharma stated.

“This is to show the effects of global warming on Guyana’s coastline and you have seen it here. It is stark… These are some of the issues that a country like Guyana would have to deal with.”

The minister also attributed the recent breach to the erosion cycle that occurs approximately every 20 years.

With this in mind, the Public Infrastructure Minister announced that counteractive measures were adopted.

“We are taking remedial action to ensure that we could arrest the situation before there is a breach.”

Moreover, to facilitate works at vulnerable locations, a timber bridge was constructed. This structure spans 100m in length and 20ft in width. The minister explained that following the stoppage of the breach with truckloads of sand, mud and boulders – the bridge can now be used to facilitate the transfer of materials.

Commending the quality of sea defence work done, Minister Sharma noted, “our team at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure did a comprehensive job.”

This is in light of challenges the ministry has been working to overcome. Chief Sea and River Defence Officer, Kevin Samad highlighted some of these issues. “The shortest access road is [approximately] 2km. Accessibility right now with truck or tractors has really been difficult. So, that is why we have resorted to the barging of the rocks.” The Sea and River Defence Officer also noted that unfavourable weather has caused the operations to be tedious.

Farmers within surrounding villages have received much-needed assistance by the ministry since the breach at Danzigt.

“We put two long-boom excavators there, and we say to the farmers ‘Identify the dams that you want to raise to prevent the intrusion of water into your land,” the minister further related.

Efforts continue by the ministry and its team to reinforce weakened sections of the earthen embankment for the benefit of the residents and farmers.

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