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All lost to raging waters


All lost to raging waters

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“WE HAD a sea around here,” a despondent-looking Cyrilene Ifill of Taylors Land, Bank Hall, St Michael, said yesterday as she related the extent of flooding in her district from Sunday night to early yesterday morning.
“This was a disaster. This is a nightmare I going through . . . All of my personal effects destroyed by the water. This is a lot of money here,” she lamented, pointing to the barrels soaked by water that reached more than one foot high.
“They promise us it was not going to flood, but it flood. I was in this 31 years. I get this problem every time the rain falls hard,” Ifill said, her hands dropping to her sides in frustration.
Ifill was one of several residents – from the flood-prone Bank Hall districts of  Prescod Bottom, Headley Land, Taylor Land, Advent Avenue, Skeete Road, Mayers Gap and Brathwaite Road – whom the DAILY NATION spoke to yesterday.
Most residents said the drainage had improved to some extent, but more needed to be done to stop the flooding altogether.
Many of them opined that the wide waterway running from the bottom of Headley Land to the Globe Cinema should be extended to Brathwaite Gap. They argued that if this was done, the water would flow directly into the waterway and reduce the flooding in their streets.
Presently, there are canals that channel the water at the bottom of each of these streets to the waterway, but whenever there is a lot of rain, the water overflows and causes flooding.
This was certainly the problem in Prescod Bottom, where vocal residents said something needed to be done urgently as they were fed up with the situation.
Pit toilets
One of them, Shakwana Hinkson, stated: “A lot of people here still have pit toilets, so when it floods the pit gets full and everything does come out; so you have to be careful how you walk.”
A stone’s throw away in Headley Land, a desperate-looking Ricardo Alleyne was on the telephone trying to contact the Ministry of Public Works to get the water in his backyard and under the cellar pumped off.
He already had a rented pump working, but that was not doing the job effectively.
Showing the NATION team the state of his backyard and cellar of his home, which is under repair, Alleyne said at one point there was more than a foot of water surrounding his house.
He charged that the waterway close to the Globe was choked and this was causing more water to back up in the avenues.
In Advent Avenue, the pleas for improvement were just as loud.
Said one male resident: “Last night (Sunday) was the worst in four years since moving down here. I guess somebody child would have to get washed away for something to be done. Things have to be written in blood [before the authorities act].”
 He, too, said the canal there was not big enough to cope with the volume of water flowing through, so it backed up, and that, together with the water rushing down the avenue, caused flooding.
The proof of his statement could be seen by the near two-foot-high water mark on his groundsill.
Across in Brathwaite Gap, one buxom resident also vented her disappointment at the ongoing flooding in her neighbourhood.
“It was like Pakistan; all the water was flooding down in here,” she said.