Flood relief to reach miners on Monday – CDC

Miners impacted by the country’s current flooding disaster can expect relief from the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) by Monday, as a consignment of supplies is currently being prepared for transport.
On Wednesday, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) would have met with the CDC to contemplate on avenues to reach affected miners.

CDC Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig

CDC Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig informed during a subsequent press conference that the relief items will be sent to affected mining communities in the new week.
“We have, thus far, with support from GGMC particularly and some of the affiliated bodies, identified the communities or the areas that are impacted, the number of miners directly impacted. We have already commenced packing of the hampers. We have already made provisions for an acquired vessel to start transporting and I think as early as Monday, the first shipment of supplies will be dispatched and distributed to those miners that are affected,” Craig underscored.
The Commission is currently targeting miners in the Mazaruni area, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and also those in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).
In Region Eight, it was reported that over 360 mining operations are currently facing the brunt of flooding at Mabura, Kanawaruk, Mahdia, Issano and Miniaha Landing. An assessment conducted in Sub-District 2, Mahdia, found that several homes, farms, roads and mining equipment have been destroyed by floodwaters. Food prices have hiked due to shortages and access to drinking water is a major concern, with water harvesting being a challenge in hard-to-reach communities.
Five households which are located on the waterfront were severely impacted by floodwater that rose to about 15 feet. This resulted in contamination of drinking water, damage to food, household items, boats and engines among other things. As a result, families were relocated to higher ground. Those who reside on the hills experienced flash floods, but water has since receded.
Holistically, over 36,000 persons have been affected by the torrential rainfall and flooding within the past four weeks.
On Wednesday, the multi-stakeholder National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) was formally operationalised to provide an enhanced coordinated mechanism that will prevent duplication of efforts, and maximise resources to flood victims.
The Centre is headed by the CDC, which falls under the Office of the Prime Minister and includes the Ministries of Health, Local Government and Regional Development, Finance, Amerindian Affairs, Human Services and Social Security, Agriculture, Public Works, Foreign Affairs and International Development. Other agencies include the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Police Force (GPF), Guyana Defence Force (GDF) through assistance from the Coast Guard and Air Corps, National Data Management Authority (NDMA), and Department of Public Information (DPI).
Through the Ministry of Agriculture, there will be representatives from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), the Hydro Meteorological Office, National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), and the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA).
The NEOC has been partially in operation since the floods began in May, however, it is now being fully activated given the progression of the situation which saw the President Irfaan Ali declaring the floods a national disaster on June 9, with the country in a Level Two state of emergency, and five Regions being at Level Three.
The NEOC will be the main decision-making body during disaster response, and will be the focal point where all information, and data are shared, analysed, and prioritised to guide decisions.
“The NEOC will be a very active body to ensure effective response. The intent is for all stakeholders to work very closely with the team to ensure data, guidance and local context are provided to ensure that we have a very detailed assessment which will drive an informed decision making which will then drive early recovery,” CDC Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig had remarked at the opening.

COVID-19 and flood
Meanwhile, the CDC head on Friday told media operatives that it is a “complex” situation to be implementing COVID-19 measures simultaneously while providing relief to impacted communities. At all shelters, he informed, the requisite guidelines were adopted to mitigate infections.
“We recognise that we’re operating within a complex emergency environment, whereby we’re responding to floods and at the same time, we’re responding to COVID-19. First and foremost is the health and safety of persons. At all shelters, we have advised the shelter managers to have the necessary COVID-19 measures in place including hand sanitiser, encourage shelters to practice social and physical distancing, ensuring that there are adequate masks available at the shelters,” he voiced.
It was positioned that COVID-19 is a “priority” on the agenda of the CDC as it relates to their overall response, and not only in the management of shelters.