By Solomon McGarrell
Over the past several weeks, Ladern’s Ville, a small village in the Upper-Berbice River has seen a significant rise in the water levels, inflicting fear upon residents that it will continue to rise as the seasonal heavy May/June rainfall continues. Floodwaters range from six feet in the back lands to one to three feet in other sections of the village.
Scores of resident’s livelihoods have since been disrupted by what they describe as the worst flood they have ever witnessed over the decades.
66-year-old Allen Bowen, a resident of the village for some 27 years, has been one of the first residents whose home has been submerged by the floodwaters and is now devastated after battling a series of unforeseen events.
“It is real rough. I lost my 10-year-old daughter two years ago, then lost my job at RUSAL, now have to face a flood; it hard,” the devastated Bowen told INFO 10 in a telephone interview.
Bowen was forced to relocate to Maple Town with his family since water levels are now three feet in his home. Like many others, Bowen sought it wise not to take up residence at the shelters set up and managed by the Civil Defense Commission(CDC) based on COVID-19 being pervasive in the sub-region. ” You have to be skillful in whatever you do, the region has COVID-19 and we can’t take our household things to the shelter,” Bowen said.
During President Ali’s recent visit to the village, the devastated Bowen wept bitterly in his plea for the government’s assistance in making the houses available in Maple town, that was once occupied by RUSAL employees.
“I worked with RUSAL for 15 years, yuh see we condition here. Yesterday I get to Maple Town; they give me somewhere to stay in one of the house through a source, I carry things inside, up to 9:30PM I fetch me things to secure it and this morning, is only to know that I can’t stay in the house anymore. The Russian said he don’t want nobody in the houses. I had to fetch me things back; if yuh see me place, the whole place flood out buddy, house lock up there and look we condition,” the distraught Bowen related to the president on May 29.
According to residents, they have never experienced any level of flooding to this extreme in their village and are calling on the government to pay keen interest in providing tangible solutions to mitigate this level of severe flooding in the future. “I’m a resident in this area for the past eight years and I have never seen water come into my yard, it would usually come at the ball field and behind our yards, it never gets into our yards,” Victor Kersting said.
He also said,” I feel they can build a revetment to the backlands, since all the water is coming from there, head across the road and into the river. If we allow it to remain like this, we can expect this on a yearly basis.”
With pipelines now submerged, potable drinking water is inaccessible in the village and the residents are now heavily dependent on rainwater for their survival. “No water is coming through the pipelines, we don’t want the rain to fall, but that is what we are depending on. Very few houses are getting access to little water,” Kersting informed this media house.
While residents continue to battle the hardship of dwelling in the floodwaters, they seek to praise the government for their continuous relief supplies. However, representatives in the village allegedly make the situation at hand worse, by their unfair distribution of hampers.
” To get hamper, I have to wait until Mr. Edghill comes, it is a friend and family thing. Things coming, but I believe it is going in the wrong hands, when they done distribute amongst friends and families, there is little left,” one resident said, while another said, “APNU/AFC representatives distributing hampers amongst supporters.”
The late Regional Vice Chairman Douglas Gittens, visited the hard-hit village to conduct an assessment and distributed 50 hampers to residents and had promised to return with more hampers, but he unfortunately passed away.
Shelters in the villages of Maple Town and Hururu house 124 displaced residents from the respective villages