GUYANA: Georgetown: Several parts of city flooded after heavy rain – UPDATED

-taskforce on alert

A section of Subryanville
A section of Subryanville

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) today said it has received reports that several locations in and around Georgetown are flooded.

As a result, the National Flood Taskforce, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), the Hydrometeorological Office, relevant Ministries, City Engineers and the Mayor’s Office, all Regional Executive Officers and the CDC are on high alert and are closely monitoring the situation, a CDC release said.     

As of 12:45pm today, all pumps in the Georgetown area are completely functional. Engineers are monitoring on a 24-hour basis and the NDIA has stated that the Kokers/Sluices will be open from 2pm to 6:30pm.

Additionally, a team from the Commission will be conducting surveys around the capital city. The National Flood Taskforce will monitor countrywide reports and weather patterns and will be ready to deploy resources and aid if necessary.

Residents are advised to remain vigilant and cautious, and to report any further impacts to local authorities or the National Emergency Monitoring System (NEMS) on 600-7500 at any time.

Outside the Georgetown Cricket Club

Heavy rain floods sections of city

Flooding on Homestretch Avenue late yesterday afternoon
Flooding on Homestretch Avenue late yesterday afternoon

Following torrential rain, flooding in parts  of Georgetown began to recede late yesterday afternoon as pumps and sluices in and around the city were all functioning.

According to the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), following the reports that several locations in and around Georgetown were flooded, the National Flood Taskforce and National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, the hydrometeorological Office, city engineer and other relevant authorities were on alert and monitored the situation.

In a press release the commission said that as of 12:45 pm all pumps in the Georgetown area were completely functioning even as engineers are expected to monitor on a 24-hour basis.

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  • wic  On 12/28/2021 at 6:22 pm

    When will the country’s politicians accept the time is now to commence the re-location of country’s capital to higher land off the CJ airport? the most suitable location would appear to be off the Linden highway with road access to the Demerara river. Unfortunately, the opposition leaders who draw much support from the existing location are too petty minded and the current gov.t can afford to wait until the constantly increasing high water levels, force out residents to who knows where?. Fifty years from now when Georgetown is continually under water as much of Port Royal, Jamaica is, the county’s citizens will shake their heads and ask why political action wasn’t taken when it was clear that the rising water couldn’t be stopped.

  • wally n  On 12/28/2021 at 6:54 pm

    ok ok we going to your idea…gimme an idea of the cost….and wah gonna happen with dem few who naw going??? Get real Get realistic PLEASE!!

  • wic  On 12/30/2021 at 2:39 am

    I am not advocating the move be done in a year, but slowly over 50 years. It starts with the construction of buildings for govt. ministries and housing for employees; land grants to individuals to encourage the move inland(on the understanding they can’t sell the land for at least 10 years). A small hospital with lots of space for expansion along with fire/police services are also essential initially.

    It is foolhardy to believe that the waters on the north coast of Guyana can be kept at bay indefinitely; costly sea defence work had been on-going since I was a child and now 70 years later, the expenditure continues. Who knows what has been the cumulative cost of that work so far?

    Those who don’t wish to move will eventually see the light and have to move. They need to understand that the country cannot afford to continually throw good money into the Atlantic Ocean and that in many parts of the world, certain cities/ small island nations in the Pacific will disappear due to rising sea levels.

    Major political decisions that require courage and fortitude but probably beyond the capacity of Guyana’s leaders will need to be made, decisions such as those made by Brazil’s leaders over 70 years ago, that moved the capital of Brazil from Rio de Janeiro( which was becoming overcrowded) to a new one inland called Brasilia.

    Guyana can do the same but its leaders must look far ahead as Brazil did or in the case of China with its 50 year plans.

    Funding? that’s what a major portion of that oil revenue should be used for instead of erecting structures that will eventually be flooded or acquiring new autos and other consumer goods that will only benefit manufacturers overseas while rusting away in the salt water.

    The question here Wally is, who in Guyana has the intestinal fortitude to push for a project the benefits of which, will only be seen long after he/she has passed?

    That’s what’s nation building is about and the reasons why in many countries, monuments are erected honoring individuals long after they have passed but who did or initiated great things that benefitted society. I rest my case.

  • wally n  On 12/30/2021 at 11:30 am

    You do dream …positive
    “Funding? that’s what a major portion of that oil revenue should be used for….
    It is obvious that we will remain at positions 180 degrees apart.I would like to at least leave you with three trains of thought, Improved drainage, today easier and cheaper, stop covering natural drainage (green areas) and as a famous President used to say, keep your environment clean, don’t dump, cut your grass, clear your gutters….

  • Arthur Veerasammy  On 12/30/2021 at 6:25 pm

    I am with you WIC! It is unfortunate that most people who understand the thinking of moving the capital inland want to see it happen right now while they are alive! The consideration that their children and grandchildren will benefit is not as important as their own feelings. I sincerely hope that it is not beyond the present administration to at the very least initiate some basic idea that can be developed into a working plan to the extent of even identifying an area in the hinterland areas. And yes, wally, in the meantime, to show encouragement to the present administration, they need to do basic sanitation, cleanliness of their surroundings.

  • WIC  On 12/31/2021 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks Arthur. Wally, how do you think Linden(formerly Mackenzie), Mabaruma, Lethem and other settlements in the interior started? they weren’t there when the Dutch and British initially colonized Guyana but were built as an effort to develop the country. I hardly need to remind you of the Tumatumari hydro electricity generating plants and gold fields now sold to the Chinese by the previous administration; that was also British efforts in developing the interior of the country with little use when the cost of gold was low and abandoned by post independence govts.

    In fact, most capitals in the world started small and were rebuild as time passed eg: New Amsterdam, USA became New York; some were better planned than others or just became capitals by the amalgamation of villages and are disjointed eg. London, England with attempts at resolving traffic/access by building ring roads. California was initially settled when gold was discovered and Texas due to oil.

    You speak of better drainage. Have you forgotten that Georgetown used to be 6 feet below sea level at high tide and now, is probably more due to the rising sea levels? Georgetown along with most of the East and West coasts are effectively bowls from which flood water cannot be drained on a consistent basis, but needs to be pumped out at great cost. That will not change but only get worse. The oil money can be used to buy oil and and property on higher ground.

    As for Mr. Burnham, it was he who decided to convert the water catch basins(canals)along North Rd., East St. etc. into promenades; he ignored the fact that the Dutch and British had them there for a good reason – to store excess water when it rained heavily. When the sluices opened at low tide, that water would be drained, but no more and “bottom flats” regularly now flood.

    I am well aware that owners won’t initially wish to abandon their properties without compensation, but do they wish to continue bailing out water from their ground floors? will they wish to continue exposing themselves and kids to the various health risks that goes with dirty stagnant water? I think not. Additionally, Guyanese aren’t stupid, potential buyers of properties listed for sale will soon be asking sellers, “does this place flood when it rains?” or they will note high water marks on exterior walls and move on. When property cannot be sold, what is its value?

    Unfortunately, low tide now is much higher now than previously was the case, and while there is still time before a major disaster besets the city(I think no more than 25-30 years), steps need be taken to relocate Georgetown as I propose, with the govt. compensating those who wish to move including such as part of the city’s relocation costs.

  • wally n  On 12/31/2021 at 2:45 pm

    I cannot argue with you,because we are coming from the same basic emotion, LOVE OF GUYANA. Quite a few people agree one hundred percent with you, just that I don’t, I see a fixable problem, you don’t see human agony of thousands moving into the interior, without serious consideration of all alternate solutions.The problem is not flooding,it is drainage.This is not seventy years ago, Government might require the military, or rename the flooding COVID.
    “The oil money can be used to buy oil and and property on higher ground” this might be your Achilles heel,I on the other hand have little faith in promises
    How easy it is to consider moving into the interior, but find giving the beach back to the sea, impossible, had to be done in many countries, it is a difficult decision especially when everyone wants beach houses.

  • wic  On 01/19/2022 at 1:04 pm

    Hey Wally. We will continue to disagree as gentlemen; however, I bring to your attention and anyone who reads this comment, that today, the Indonesian government announced that after a 3 year study, it has decided to move its capital from Jakarta to the island of Bornea it shares with Brunei and Malaysia. Among the reasons are: overcrowding, the need to spread economic benefits across the country and the CONTINUOUS FLOODING of the city.

    The move to the new location will be initially civil servants where there is already some economic activity underway. The main concerns being the impact on the environment and the orangutans( gorillas) and de-forestation.

    I never advocated the forced re-location of people from the City of Georgetown, but in another blog, recommended land grants etc. with certain govt. offices, police and medical services moving/expanded to the new location firstly.

    Of course, there are always upheavals when people re-locate – ask any of the 750 thousand who left Guyana or their children, but that didn’t prevent us moving and adjusting to new locations across the world. A few didn’t make it and returned to Guyana but probably less than 100, who didn’t like cold weather and wished to continually chat with neighbors across the fence; for them, and as long as the barrels and bank drafts kept coming, they feel no pain.

    My friend, the sea is coming for the entire coastland of the country and Georgetown being a bowl 5 feet below sea level, cannot be economically drained on a continuous basis. Those who move early will get fair value for their properties and in later years long after I have passed, I predict many of those properties will be unsaleable and be eventually abandoned and claimed by the sea. Stay well and safe.

  • wally n  On 01/19/2022 at 1:56 pm

    OK while you buy up wheel barrows, I am getting swimming and diving lessons, we both happy now??? Look if there ever have a big leap competition in the Olympics, the gold medal will be yours.You have brought “750 thousand who left Guyana ” and weather change to the same page, that’s talent.

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