Saturday, September 11, 2010
Gov’t intervenes to address overtopping
President Jagdeo along with two of his Cabinet Ministers – Mr. Robeson Benn and Mr. Irfaan Ali, during yesterday’s inspection visit to areas affected by unusually high spring tides.
EXCAVATORS have been deployed to Regions Three, Four, Five and Six, to bring relief to areas severely affected by the floods as a result of overtopping caused by high tides.
Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud disclosed this at a news briefing held yesterday at his Ministry to update the media on interventions to tackle La Nina and the unusual high level of spring tide.
In addition, teams from the Agriculture Ministry have been mobilised to the affected communities to advise farmers.
Minister Persaud stated that through the Ministry’s ‘Grow More’ campaign, farming and planting materials will be provided to those affected, as well as some levels of crop replacement will be offered through the genetic improvement programme.
He highlighted that his Ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Public Works, which is responsible for river and sea defences and both have made interventions to mitigate the flooding.
“The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) was mobilised, as it had to divert from the traditional drainage work in the farming communities and move both human resources as well as excavators to support the Public Works Ministry’s sea defence unit,” Minister said.
“I do know that Minister Benn and his team are working assiduously, as well as the President, as he was out this morning to visit some of the affected areas, which is certainly signalling how serious the matter is,” Minister Persaud noted.
He highlighted that the primary concern was to restrict the salt water from intruding in farming areas to reduce the risk of loss or damage and urged persons to desist from removing the mangroves and dams as this leads to erosion.
Clogged drains are also preventing excess water from freely flowing.
Over 65 villages were affected, including Wakenaam, where close to 90% of the island was affected and in excess of 4000 individuals were inconvenienced.
Minister Persaud noted that the drainage system is being compromised by the presence of the squatters.
He urged local authorities to be more cautious and detect the situation from an early stage and to be more aggressive since alerts and advisories were sent to them prior to the flood situation.
Senior Hydrologist, Garvin Cummings noted that the spring tides are expected to continue until Sunday, the highest of which was experienced Thursday.
“It is expected that the low pressure system on the weather and tides will continue to deteriorate in the next 24-48 hrs.”
He said that over the next month or two it is expected that there will be above normal rainfall, as the strength of La Nina is still not determined, and as winter in the northern hemisphere approaches, it is expected that for the remainder of the year and early 2011 there will be above normal rainfall.