After visiting the storm-hit Linden community of Retrieve and the flooded community of Coomacka, in the Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region 10) region on Friday, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, met with affected residents and committed Government’s help with respect to the restoration of their livelihoods through the provision of seeds and other supplies that would assist in their rebuilding efforts.
Minister Harmon said Government has been briefed on the plight of the residents and is committed to bringing them relief. As such, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), which is responsible for coordinating disaster relief efforts, will be working with the Region 10 Administration to assist the affected communities.
The Government Information Agency reported that Minister Harmon praised the residents for their efforts in assisting each other during their time of discomfiture, and noted that that is the spirit needed as the country continues to experience flooding in various regions due to heavy rainfall and overtopping of rivers.
Director General of the CDC, Colonel (ret’d) Chabilall Ramsarup, noted that the CDC is working around the clock to bring relief to residents in all the affected regions, and would work with the Region 10 Administration and residents of Upper Demerara-Berbice to ensure that some amount of normalcy is restored them at the soonest possible time.
The CDC Director General gave residents a quantity of seeds and other agricultural implements, such as shovels, cutlasses, hoes and rakes, which he said would help them to make a new start; while Minister Harmon handed over several boxes of clothing.
The Region 10 Administration, in collaboration with the CDC, is making food hampers, blankets and other necessities available to the affected residents.
Minister Harmon told Coomacka residents during his meeting with them that he wanted to take a first-hand look at the situation, to determine for himself what were the damages and needs in the area and to assure residents that the Government is actively pursuing relief solutions.
Government had, in May, deployed a team of engineers and other experts from various agencies to the village to conduct a site visit and explore several short, medium and long-term solutions to the plight of residents.
Stemming from that site visit, the engineers had decided there was need for a new drainage system to be developed to stop the erosion and shifting of sand into the Demerara River. A new bridge would also have to be built for the village, and sections of the village where mining once took place have to be reforested. This plan of action has been drafted, and Minister Harmon assured the residents that he would soon have discussions with the Finance Minister to see how much can be accomplished.