Close to 20 inches of rainfall recorded between May 24 and June 10 – Minister Mustapha
− tells Brazilian news entity over 30,000 households affected
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has stated that Guyana has recorded approximately 20 inches of rainfall in the space of two months due to the continuous downpours the country has been experiencing.
This was disclosed during an interview with Brazil’s AgroMais News where he referred to the situation as a record-breaking experience since the country has not dealt with such an alarming amount of rainfall since 1981.
“Over the last two months, we’ve witnessed; experienced unprecedented rainfall, which has resulted in flooding in all ten administrative regions of Guyana. Between May 24 and June 10, we’ve seen close to 20 inches of rainfall. This is the highest amount of rainfall we’ve seen since 1981,” the Minister related.
According to the Minister, Guyana’s southern basin between Upper Essequibo and Corentyne River has been filled and overflowing. The country is said to be experiencing higher than usual water levels in the rivers which has overflowed into majority of the coastal areas.
As a result, approximately 90 per cent of crops were destroyed along with a large number of livestock, while over 30,000 households were affected. He further told the news entity that these numbers were recorded but is expected to rise through the assessments that are being carried out across the country.
“As a matter of fact, we had a disaster team from the Caribbean who was helping us do the assessment around the country.” This team along with other local stakeholders are visiting the most affected villages in an attempt to compile an overall assessment of all the areas that have been affected across the country. Approximately 40,000 acres in damages have already been reported due to flooding.
Rebuilding the agriculture sector
In regards to the agriculture sector, the minister noted that the country will need a lot of assistance, apart from what the Government is currently doing. “We will need help from our Regional and International partners…Our assessment report will be able to detail our needs and those needs will then be made known so that countries who wish to assist us can know what we need,” Mustapha highlighted.
The minister was sure to note that “the immediate task of the Government is to ensure those who were affected have food supplies and potable water. We will have to provide food for most of the areas that were affected, especially the Hinterland communities.”
In addition to carrying out flood assessments throughout the country, the Minister stated that health officials have also been closely monitoring affected areas for water-borne diseases such as leptospirosis, diarrhoea, vomiting, and gastroenteritis.
“As a Government, we are aware that an outbreak of such illnesses may be imminent so we are making the necessary preparations to ensure we have the necessary health facilities if an outbreak does occur.”
The Minister expressed gratitude to all the regional and international bodies that have responded and immediately gave assurance to Guyana during the time of devastation.