…Regions 2, 5, 7, 10 now at Level 3 emergency – CDC
President, Dr Irfaan Ali has officially declared the widespread flooding currently affecting Guyana as a national disaster.
His proclamation was recorded in the Official Gazette on Thursday. The document states that as of June 7, 2021, a total of 28,228 households were affected by flooding, some with water entering their homes, domestic animals and livestock in distress or farmlands inundated.
Guyana has been inundated by heavy rains since May, which has caused widespread flooding. The devastation includes submerged buildings and vehicles with adverse effects on crops, livestock and health.
It has been noted that the rainfall experienced in May alone was recorded as the second highest level of rainfall across the country in the last 40 years.
Due to this, relief efforts to affected Guyanese have been nonstop, through various public, private and non-governmental collaborations. In fact, Government was seeking supplemental funding in the National Assembly a few days ago to the tune of $10 billion to assist with flood mitigation measures throughout the country.
The CDC announced on Saturday that Guyana has been classified as a Level 2 Disaster under the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) mechanism, which indicates that the national capacity to respond is not overwhelmed but external assistance is required in the form of technical assistance, specialised equipment, support personnel and information sharing in order to respond and recover from the event.
Despite Guyana’s situation being classified as Level 2, the impact of the flood in the regions vary, with Regions One, Three, Four, Eight and Nine being at Level 2, given national capacity to manage the impact, while Regions Two, Five, Seven and 10 are classified as Level 3, based on the magnitude of the flood.
“It is for this reason that regional and international support is needed to effectively mobilise resources in order to respond and recover from the impact of the floods. A Tropical Wave embedded within the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone is currently affecting Guyana, resulting in heavy rainfall which could last until mid-July,” the CDC said.
To date, a total of 17,829 cleaning hampers and 21,735 food hampers have been distributed across the regions as a form of emergency relief. The Commission continues to manage shelters, housing a total of 205 residents who have been displaced from their homes.
Under the Constitution, the President has been authorised to declare a disaster if he is satisfied that a disaster has happened and it has become necessary for the CDC to exercise disaster management powers, to prevent or minimise loss of human life, illness or injury to humans, property loss or damage to the environment.
Water rising in Kwakwani
On Saturday, Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips led a team into the community of Kwakwani, Region 10, to deliver relief and assess the situation, as the area remains severely inundated by high floodwaters.
He was joined by Public Service Minister Sonia Parag and Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, in order to meet with the flood-affected residents, listen to their concerns and provide support. Relief hampers and supplies were also taken to the community.
This exercise follows a visit by President Irfaan Ali and a team from the Civil Defence Commission, where an assessment of the severity of the floods and its impact on the residents was done. Other Ministers have also been engaging residents in the last two weeks.
The Health Ministry also donated 1800 packs of medical supplies to Kwakwani. The items arrived at the village via the Berbice River as part of a continuous nationwide flood relief effort.
Kwakwani is one of the hardest-hit communities in the country and it was reported a few days ago that water levels remain at some 12 feet high due to the overflowing of the Berbice River. More than 850 residents in the region have been affected.
Region Six shelters also received water purification tablets, face masks and cleaning agents. In Region Five shelters, cleaning agents, hygiene products and cots were also provided. (G12)