12 May, 2006

Suriname Flooding: An Eye Witness Says Capital Received Alert Late

The following is an eye-witness account which has been translated today, from Dutch to English of how the flooding started in Suriname, how a local police commander had tried to alert the capital so they could alert other areas, but due to a slow response, extensive damage to property and life had been caused by the flooding in a matter of 12-24 hours:

"I was in Asidonhopo with Aboikoni, the tribal head when it started raining continuously for 2 weeks with thunder and lighting. From time to time the rain storms halted for a gap of less than 2 hours before it began again.

The commander with the local police force in Asidonhopo who's still in shock described how last week on Friday, he saw the water levels increasing by dozens of centimeters from the main Suriname river and flood inland, by the end of Friday, he said that the water level had reached the street and that and the local residents had thought that it was nothing to worry about since it was the season for rainfall. However, by evening, the commander saw the water levels increasing by the hour and the warmth of the water indicated that the rivers had overflown their bank, at that point he thought it was the end and the village would be washed away.

One of the local residents says that the alarm bell in the town was rung and that they tried to make contact with a city in the capital to warn them about the rising water level. A few minutes past midnight and the bridges had been submerged. It was also revealed that despite trying to alert the capital, it took the alarm bell was not sounded immediately and took some time to ring. The seriousness of the situation was realized just 24 hours later, after most damage had occuered.

After placing the first phone call to Paramaribo, the commander saud that he was about to sleep before travelling North the next day to alert other citizens, but at 4 in the morning he was awoken by loud knocking at his door and he found that it was one of the locals who told him that the villagers needed to be evacuate to higher ground water as the water had reached hip level. The next morning it was really clear as to how high and how fast water the had risen, in only 12 hours time, the water had increase by 3 meters."

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