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Abary Creek flooding severe

Cattle being sold out

As the rain continues the Abary Creek has been flooded and residents have suffered losses to crops and livestock and some are falling sick.

A section of the flooded Abary Creek

The residents also told Stabroek News (SN) that while vets have been making checks in the creek they do not have drugs to treat their sick animals and they learnt that “government has not release any as yet. The cows’ skin bursting and we don’t know what disease they have and we have to mingle with them.”

The toilets are also overflowing and residents said they have to dwell in the same water. Some of the residents have tried to move their animals to higher ground and have raised their pens but the water has started to get in.

Clifton Bassoo’s cattle being taken out of the Abary Creek yesterday to be sold

A resident from the upper reaches of the creek said there is no dry spot there and he “don’t know which is creek and which is land right now.”

Rice farmers said their crops are under water and while they have already started to lose large portions they are desperately pumping water out in an effort to save the rest.

Residents had stopped investing in cash crop farming since the area started to be affected by severe flooding since 2005 and are cultivating small kitchen gardens instead which already “duck out.”

Most of the residents are employed as labourers but said “we are hardly getting work and whatever little savings we have would finish.”

Further, the residents said “we get flood two times a year and we know that we can’t get away from that because the water always rise in the creek when the rain fall. But we would get relief if the authorities continue cleaning from the sea-front to come into the creek and break off some of the turns from the outfall.”

Residents had made a request for the mouth of the Abary River to be cleared and government had funded the job earlier this year. The work was overseen by the Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary/Agricultural-Development-Authority (MMA/ADA).

A few housewives told this newspaper that they had asked the president for a boat to take the children to school. “We don’t know how they would make out to go to school from Monday. How long we would keep them home? They need a boat to take them because the dam is really bad. We want the president to come back in here,” the women said.

Poultry farmer, Mahase Prahalad, said his pen with 150 ducks and 100 fowls which he depends on for a living is under several inches of water and they hardly have any dry place to stay.

His 10 head of cattle are in the water and one of them valued $70,000 has died. It appeared as though it had been bitten by a snake. He said residents need medicine for snake bites because the reptiles are lurking in the water.

He had also caught a caiman that was attacking his ducks and fowls. His kitchen garden which consisted of ochro, boulanger and peppers is also under water.

Prahalad said his 13-year-old son has to be in the water with him to help move his cows to higher grounds while he sent his 11-year-old daughter to stay with relatives on the road.

He said “black water running in the creek and we don’t know if it was coming from Mahaicony Creek or the savannah.”

When SN visited the area yesterday a cattle farmer, Clifton Bassoo was bringing his 95 head of cattle out “on the road to sell because I can’t find any grass for them and eventually they would die.”

The man charged that the flood is a man-made disaster because “with rainfall alone this place is ok. Even when we get two weeks of non-stop rainfall and we never get this flood. They [government officials] are opening the water at Maduni and not informing people.”

Iqbal Kassim said over 200 roots of cherries and his boulanger and bora plants are under water “and the leaves start to coil up and drop off.” He has 15 head of cattle and they are on the right bank of the Abary Creek.  The father of three ages one, four and five, lives on the left bank and the only dry spot was under his house which he had spent a lot of money to empolder.

His father, Mohamed Kassim, 60, who resides on the right bank of the creek said he had over 200 head of cattle and eight of his calves, worth over $1M have already died. He sells milk for a living but at the moment he cannot get to milk his cows.

The man said the water is right up to his door and he is thinking of packing up and leaving the area because “one position we in all the time; we really punishing.”

Dilip Gildharry a father of six children whose ages range from five months to 12 years old including one who is physically challenged said out of his 15 sheep seven have already died. His cows are also in the water while his boulanger, bora and ochro “done duck out.”

He said he tries to keep the children upstairs but the bigger ones “have to help him to cut grass for the animals. He knows the children can get sick and said “the cow and sheep we can buy back but we can’t buy back the people if they die.”

Rice farmer, Mohabir Gildharry told this newspaper that he was trying desperately to pump water to save his 60 acres of rice “but ah don’t think I can save it anymore because instead of the water draining through the canal it is coming in.”

The man owned 60 cows but said 15 have gotten cramps and died while most of his fowl have drowned. Like other residents, he is asking for “flood relief.”

Surujpaul “Ricta” Rampersaud said yesterday that six of his cows have died and one of his horses is missing and he is afraid that it has died too. He said his goats are on higher grounds but the water is reaching that spot as well.

He said “the flood come but nobody nah come in here to give we any [medical] assistance and we getting sick.” His wife, Sunita Ramoo said that she has had to move her stove and utensils to her upper flat because the water is in her kitchen downstairs.