It is really pitiful to see the plight of flood-affected families across Guyana. We all must come forward to help our fellow Guyanese in the hour of need.
The PPP/C Government and their agencies are doing their best to assist the affected families, but there are those elements in our relief system that continue to hamper relief efforts and donations from reaching the right persons; and even if those donations do reach the right persons, they are not the full allotments, due to some corrupt so-called community leaders.
Recently, it was alleged that donated flood relief items were being sold by a local shop owner in Region #10: biscuits and bottled water donated by Banks DIH to assist with the flood relief programme. Eyewitnesses disclosed the vehicle and registration number that transported the items to the alleged shopkeeper. What is shocking is that these items were part of a large donation collected by the prominent APNU-AFC leaders of Region 10 from Banks DIH to be distributed to the flood-affected areas in Region #10.
While at Pomeroy, residents were disappointed, as the APNU-AFC Opposition leaders shared food hampers only to persons whom they believe were APNU-AFC supports. One must note that the flood waters and the rainfall are not discriminating against citizens based on citizens’ political affiliation.
President Irfaan Ali himself has been leading the flood assessment outreaches across the country, rather than sending officials from the various Ministries. Our President has been on the ground, engaging the people and delivering relief to those affected. He must be commended for his efforts.
Our Prime Minister, Ministers of Cabinet, and other PPP/C MPs have been visiting flood-affected areas across the country, engaging citizens and offering assistance regardless of race or perceived political affiliation.
It must be said the APNU/AFC Opposition have demonstrated that they are incapable of delivering to the citizens of this country. Flood relief is eaten up by alleged APNU/AFC corrupt officials, and the needy only get the residual amount, if any. In such scenario, the role of the higher officials becomes all the more important. They should ensure that the relief reaches the right person. These so-called leaders should rise above their selfish motives and help the flood victims wholeheartedly. Even NGOs can come forward and play a significant role in bringing the people’s lives back on track. It is our collective problem, and we all must join hands to support all the flood-affected families.
Flood is an unforeseeable natural calamity which not only ruins the lives of several people, but is also disastrous for the economy. Depending on the weather forecast, Our PPP/C Government has taken preventive steps and warned the public in advance. People from vulnerable areas should be shifted to some safer places, which should have all basic necessities.
From the beginning of the flood calamity, the Government took curative measures well in time, so that loss can be minimised. The Government, the CDC and many NGOs came forward with timely help with hampers that have basic necessities which include eatables, drinking water, ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals and flashlight, which was and still is priority, instead of cash. The Government provides help with transportation facilities to several NGOs and educational institutions so that they can reach at the flood-affected areas on time and provide help. Rescue operation was top of their list with a strong military force appointed. Old-age persons, children and patients are at the top of list in rescue operations.
As responsible citizens, we should contribute as much as our pocket allows in relief fund donations maintained by our Government agencies.
It must be clear to all that after attaining the stage of stability, Our PPP/C Government should calculate the losses of individuals and make timely compensation to them, so that they can restart their lives in a new way.
Flood is a natural disaster, and due to climate change and rainfall, it is occurring not only in Guyana, but in other nations too. There may be loss to life and other living creatures due to flood, and people also have to bear loss in the form of property and crops. The PPP/C Government always have a good track recorder of giving relief to flood victims in a timely manner; however, the local level of Government must adopt some of the measures to give timely relief to the flood victims by forming relief distributing cells which may carry relief through boats or other water transport means to the flood victims.
All agencies should work under the single controlling agency for the smooth functioning, and to avoid overcrowding at one place. For each year, Government should reserve some money and material to meet such types of natural disasters. There should be warning signal for flood, so that people may move on safe places for their survival. CDC teams and military should be kept ready in advance to meet such types of exigencies.
We all must come forward to help the flood victims as it is not the problem of sufferers, but a natural problem. The gravity and the time of its occurrence are not known to anyone. Special duty be assigned to para-medical and doctors to assist the flood victims.
In order to provide relief to flood-affected citizens well in time, the Government should launch a mission led by a coordinator along with a team of social workers, regional resource centres, local volunteers and leaders from beneficiaries. An active IT cell of professional volunteers needs to be set up in Region #10 through the Office of the President, and not the Region themselves, to ensure that all essential information is acquired from those stuck, and forwarded to Government agencies dealing in providing help to those affected.
Further, apart from the funds mobilised from various sources, meetings should be arranged for direct linkages of sponsors with the flood-affected people, so that they could provide assistance personally. Besides, a system needs to be set up to provide sustainable solutions to the needy people through a systematic and professional manner.
There is the great need for rehabilitation of flood victims in various parts of the country. Farmers who are suffering huge losses as their crops got damaged in the floods need a great supply of seeds. The short-term loans of flood-affected farmers should be converted to medium-term loans. The power department should restore power supply in flood-ravaged areas. The outbreak of diseases such as malaria, jaundice, dengue and other water-borne diseases should be checked. Proper vaccination and medical aid should be provided to the affected people. The food and other necessities should be taken into care till the conditions improve.
The PPP/C Government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We must all accept that the people affected by the flood waters during 2021 will get timely help by our PPP/C Government.
One must know also that our Opposition in this country is hopeless. They don’t perform their duties unless they are told to do so. We need to pressure them to act, and monitor their daily progress. It is sad that, during this time in our community and country, when we are all impacted by COVID-19 and many of our citizens are experiencing a natural disaster, several leaders of the Opposition continue to play on the emotions of citizens. An attempt to peddle misinformation to cause division, these persons with political influences must stop using this unfortunate flood occurrence to promote political divisions and try to gain political mileage.
In conclusion I would like to encourage NGOs working in the flood areas to sync with our Government, and work with a concrete plan to help the needy. Steps should be taken to have a transparent and fast system which can disseminate information about where help is required and what has been done to cater to the requirements of the flood-affected citizens.