Monday, February 13, 2012

Flooding and incompetence

An editorial in the Starbroek News (Namibia): ...[A]fter two decades in office inclusive of a major disaster seven years ago, the PPP/C government has run out of excuses where it relates to viable solutions and a comprehensive plan to confront flooding. If there is a single issue which has reflected the full range of the PPP/C’s incompetence, lack of imagination and drift while presiding over the most serious and grievous losses to large segments of the populace year after year it is flooding. If there is a single performance-based issue that the government should have lost office over it is flooding. There is no doubt about that.

...The culpability of the government is reflected on two planes. The first is simple. After the 2005 Great Flood the government was fully aware that it needed a game changer to insulate the areas vulnerable to the swollen EDWC [East Demerara Water Conservancy]. It has had a full 7 years – almost to the day – to complete the lynchpin in its plan – the Hope Canal. The questions about the engineering wisdom of this canal aside, it was for the government to show in words and deed that it recognized the grave danger posed by the EDWC to Mahaica/Mahaicony and the lower East Coast and that it was prepared to execute this project properly and rapidly. Seven years later the project is plodding on and 2014 might arrive without it being completed. Minister Robert Persaud who presided over this sector has been moved to another area without fulfilling arguably the most important commitment he and his government had made to the people. It is also worthy of note that the dredging of several rivers including the Pomeroon and the Mahaica had been on the government’s agenda after the Great Flood and had been discussed by Minister Persaud with several donors and friendly countries. Nothing came of it and residents of the Pomeroon were left to plead again this year amidst deep flooding for the dredging of the river. It should also be pointed out that while admittedly the price tags are high, the Jagdeo government made no progress on taking decisions on phases 2 and 3 of the MMA scheme and the rebuilding of the northern wall of the conservancy.

The second plane of culpability is the persistent and unanswered dilemma of the EDWC. Is the threat posed by the EDWC a function of the extent of its siltation and poor management over the last 30 years? Is it also the case that if these issues had been addressed in the ambit of a comprehensive flood control plan there may have been no need for this giant canal at Hope leading out to the Atlantic? Prior to the 2005 Great Flood, the ordinary citizen knew very little of the EDWC....

Flooding on the Klein Windhoek River, Namibia, year unknown, shot by Bries, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

No comments: