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Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, Monday met with farmers from Mocha village on the East Bank of Demerara to discuss immediate interventions to assist with flooding in the farming areas.
Persistent rainfalls over the last few days and poor water management by the government have resulted in flooding in sections of the farming areas in Mocha and other communities along the East Bank corridor.
During the minister’s visit farmers related that their farms have been severely affected.
Farmers were told a team of engineers attached to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and the Ministry of Housing and Water will be visiting affected areas to conduct a thorough assessment of the landscape to determine the most effective means to address the flooding.
While specifically addressing claims made by farmers from the village, Minister Mustapha confirmed that extension officers from the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) and the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) are currently gathering information to carry out an assessment.
Government continues to fall to take necessary action to improve the flooding situation around the country. One villager told this publication this situation was never this bad during the A Partnership of National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government. Last month, former Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, advised that if the government took a proactive approach to flooding the situation would be different.
In an story carried on November 23, Patterson stated “Before every rain season (during the dry season), we would lower the water levels in all canals and primary waterways, so that when the rains come, they would be able to retain more water, the ministry would establish a sand bank, which was we placed heaps of sand in various locations, and had staff available to fill sandbags for any citizen (staff was available 24 hours to assist in filling sandbags).”
Further, “hotlines were established for serious citizens and vulnerable persons to call, and they were helped free of cost.
Speaking to the issue in Georgetown Patterson also said unless the drains are kept clean and the environment tidy, to enable the smooth flood of the rain waters, flooding will continue to be an issue, and with the PPP refusing to adequately finance M&CC, flooding will become a regular event, even as he warned the worst is yet to come.
Over the past days, the minister has been visiting flood-affected areas to meet with residents along the East Bank of Demerara.