Overtopping of Brazil rivers lead to severe flooding in Reg 9
– several families relocated to shelter
– more rainfall predicted over the next 24h
Several villages in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) are under water as a result of the recent heavy downpours that resulted in nearby rivers in Brazil overtopping into the Takutu River.
This overtopping ultimately caused the river to overflow its banks.
Regional Chairman Bryan Allicock, when contacted on Monday, explained that the excess water was coming from the Amazon through the Rio Negra and the Rio Branco backing up into the Takutu River.
He stated that while the rainfall has eased, “water is still coming in from Brazil’s end.”
Some heavily impacted areas, the Chairman revealed, include Lethem, St Ignatius, Tabatinga and Bashaidrun. In some of these areas, residents have been experiencing as much as five feet of floodwaters.
“Within 12 hours we had five feet of water,” Allicock said at the time. As a result of this, several families were forced to relocate over Sunday evening and throughout Monday. “We moved out about 12 families last night and we have more to move today (Monday).”
“As the water comes into the people’s homes, we are relocating them to the shelter,” the Regional Chairman related.
He also revealed that a number of farmlands in the deep south area have been inundated.
“Thirty-five farms flooded in Bashaidrun and Deep South. The well that the people depend on is submerged so everything is contaminated,” he said.
Nevertheless, Allicock noted that they were working assiduously to bring relief to the affected residents as they were preparing food packages to be distributed to the families who were placed in shelters.
“We’re acquiring food packages, so we’ll have to shuttle it in by ATVs – that is the only way we’ll be able to get that there now and then we’ll have to get a boat and engine to shuttle things to the families that are on the islands that is what we’re looking at right now.
“We already have some (food packages), but we’ll have to acquire more so we can get it down and other flood relief; the business people would mostly donate to CDC [Civil Defence Commission] and they would transport to the region and we would do the distribution,” he further explained.
“So, we have people working around the clock there, assisting people to move out and relocate,” he added.
The Regional Chairman also urged persons to proceed with caution in these areas, especially those traversing the areas nearing the airstrip and the Lethem Radio Station as the roads to these areas were completely submerged.
“People in the region got to be careful: the water near to the airport is about knee height for some and higher for some people so they have to be careful. They got to walk with the water gears and rain gears, because rain might just hold up for a couple of hours and then come again, but we have to monitor,” he said.
Meanwhile, the CDC, in a statement, indicated that a shelter has been set up to house the affected residents.
“Working with the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), Lethem Town Council (LTC) and Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development (MLGRD), a shelter managed by the LTC, to house approximately seven families has been established at the Tabatinga Sports Complex in Lethem. Impacted residents have transitioned to the facility today (Monday),” the statement said.
The CDC also indicated that it has activated its Regional Disaster Risk Management Centre (RDRMC) to serve as an additional shelter to accommodate more displaced persons who were set to be housed there on Monday.
“The CDC is also working with regional and municipal authorities to deliver water purification tablets, water containers, cleaning hampers and other essential supplies. Two small-engined boats will also be deployed by the CDC to aid the RDC. Volunteers from the CDC Volunteer Corps, along with an experienced shelter manager, are assisting the Town Council to coordinate the relief effort.”
The CDC further revealed that the Hydrometeorological Service forecasted significant and consistent rainfall countrywide throughout the following 24 hours and as such, the Commission, along with relevant agencies, would continue to monitor all 10 Administrative Regions.