For more than a month residents of Icacos Village, Cedros, have been grappling with seawater flooding in and around their properties due to spring tides. This has caused a severe mosquito outbreak and other health concerns since several cesspits are flooded and there is a strong foul stench in the area.
Councillor for the area Shankar Teelucksingh said the Siparia Regional Corporation has been trying to bring relief to residents, but more help is needed. He said while this is an annual problem because Cedros is below the sea level, this year’s floods are the worst he has seen in recent times.
“We are seeing that the water is coming in more inland and residents who were not affected over the last couple of years now experiencing water within their homes and within their surrounding areas,” Teelucksingh said.
Noting that more than 30 residents are affected, he added: “Residents are frustrated because of the fact that assistance from the Ministry of Works in terms of setting up proper flood gates within the main watercourses within the Cedros district have continued to fail over the last couple of years. No flood gates have been installed and they continue to call on the government to at least put some sort of restriction to restrict the amount of water coming inland from the various watercourses around this time when we experience very high tide.”
In an attempt to reduce the volume of the seawater flowing inland, the corporation has been digging and then filling the river mouth.
Teelucksingh explained: “On the low tide what we try to do is open the river with a backhoe, open the river mouth by excavating some of the sand at the mouth of the river so that the majority of water would run back into the sea on the low tide and when the tide turns around they try to close back the river mouth to avoid the water from flowing back in a high volume inland.”
One of the affected resident, who requested anonymity, said the flooding got worse after someone graded down part of the mangrove increasing the water flow into the village and blocking off a box drain at Lover’s Lane.
“It terrible here. I had to leave my home last week and go by my relative. I just feel like to give up here because is like nobody cares. Is the first time it get so bad. We have millions of mosquitoes, we can’t even come out of our homes and it smelling real bad,” the resident.
Teelucksing is calling for the affected residents to be relocated or given a parcel of land to rebuild.
He suggested that various bodies, including the Institute of Marine Affairs, Town and Country Planning and the Works Ministry’s Coastal Protection Unit, do an assessment of the affected area.