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Flood forces closure of radio, TV stations, University of Guyana

A section of the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus

by Denis Chabrol and Chevy Devonish

Severe flooding caused by overnight heavy rainfall has forced the closure of Guyana’s state-owned radio and television stations and at least one private radio station and the Turkeyen Campus of the University of Guyana, officials said.

Efforts were also being made by the National Cultural Centre to remove chairs closer  the flood waters that have inundated the lower flat.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Communications Network (NCN) , Molly Hassan told Demerara Waves Online News that the three radio stations and one television station were being switched off as a precautionary measure. “We will, based on the advice from our engineers, be taking the radio and television off air due to the fact that the water is about an inch away from the electrical panels,” she said. Hassan said the water level inside the building was rising due to seepage.

She said efforts would be made to lock off certain areas and pump the water out from the building located at Homestretch Avenue.

The decision to switch off the State-owned radio and television stations has come at a time when Cabinet has activated certain emergency measures including the Civil Defence Commission and the opening of shelters to accommodate persons along the densely populated coastland who might have been displaced by the flood waters.

The privately-owned Hits and Jams’ Boom FM radio station also turned off its transmitter, generator and other equipment because of flood water.

The Turkeyen Campus of the University of Guyana (UG) has cancelled all operations today, including ongoing summer classes and the processing of prospective students applications due to extreme flooding.

On Thursday morning students and staff were sent an email informing them that all activities, including classes have been cancelled due to extensive flooding. While the 2014/2015 academic year has already concluded, there are several courses which are being offered throughout the summer period. Additionally, students looking to commence studies at UG come September have started going into the university for application and/or registration purposes.

“Due to heavy rains and area flooding, all classes and activities at University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus are cancelled on Thursday, July 16th, 2015. This includes the closing of all offices,” the message said.

Demerara Waves Online news is informed that the University’s parking lot, lawns, as well as several classrooms, including the George Walcott Lecture Theatre (GWLT), the university’s largest lecture hall, is under several inches of water.

Several construction projects currently taking place at the university are also stalled as a result of the flooding and heavy showers.

This morning, a media release from the Ministry of the Presidency stated that Guyana has experienced intense rainfall over the last 16 hours. The release said that “Georgetown received approximately 70mm of rainfall,” while the East Coast of Demerara received approximately 100mm.”

With “rainfall of approximately 20mm – 40mm anticipated in the next 12 hours” additional flooding in low-lying areas is expected. As the university is situated in a particularly low-lying area it is almost certain that the situation will not improve soon. As such, it is not certain that operations will recommence by Friday.