− CDC intensifies response, RDRMS activated
As torrential rain persists across Guyana, all 10 Administrative Regions have been hit by floods but according to the Civil Defence Commission, Regions Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are experiencing the most severe flooding.
This was revealed by Director General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig during an update on Sunday.
Craig, who had accompanied President Dr Irfaan Ali to these two worst-hit regions on Saturday, said that the CDC is working with the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) in the various regions to ascertain the needs there.
He explained that they are looking to establish at least two shelters in the Region 10 community of Kwakwani, which is currently under several inches of water in some areas, almost meeting the second/upper flat of houses and even almost covering a motor car in others. The floods there are affecting more than 700 households.
“We were just there yesterday (Saturday) and based on the necessary assessment, we would have to set up a shelter or more than one shelters to house approximately 75 to 100 persons based on the level of the water,” the CDC Head noted.
However, Lt Col Craig explained that even when a shelter is established, there must be adequate food – 3 square meals – available for the occupants.
Only Saturday, relief supplies were sent to the region and distributed in Kwakwani and other affected communities there. Then on Sunday, another 1000 food hampers and 1000 cleaning hampers were dispatched specially for Kwakwani. Four trucks with the hampers arrived in Kwakwani mid-afternoon on Sunday and Public Works Minister Juan Edghill travelled there to oversee the distribution of the relief items.
Meanwhile, in the other severely-hit Region, East Berbice-Corentyne, the Black Bush Polder area is heavily impacted by the floods. There, hundreds of cattle and other livestock are trapped in floodwaters with limited dry space to graze on.
As such, President Ali on Saturday gave instructions for steps to be taken to evacuate the livestock that are stranded in the mud. Government handed over feed to farmers to take into Cookrite Savannah. Additionally, fuel will be provided for the farmers’ tractors so that they can transport them in.
In addition, a team of officers from the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) will be visiting the savannahs today to provide whatever medical aid is required to ensure that sick animals survive.
On Sunday, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and Region Six Chairman, David Armogran also visited other flood-hit communities on the Corentyne. This was the second consecutive day Mustapha visited the region.
Nevertheless, the CDC Director said that the response continues across the country in flood-affected areas.
“We have a number of needs as it relates to responding to the current flood situation. These needs are based on what is coming from the regions which include food supplies, cleaning and sanitation hampers, mattresses, things to stock shelters and other dietary supplies,” Craig explained.
He added that they are also determining what additional needs are coming in from the various regions since their response is dependent on the needs of the regions and from the affected communities.
In a subsequent statement on Sunday evening, it was noted that the various RDCs have activated the Regional Disaster Risk Management System (RDRMS) to ensure timely assessment and response in communities affected by flooding.
The RDRMS is a component of the National Disaster Risk Management (DRM) system which is designed to eliminate fragmentation through integration, decentralise risk governance and common understanding of DRM roles and responsibilities. Under this system, each region was able to develop its own Disaster Risk Management System in keeping with the wider national mechanism.
The CDC said it is working with the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs), Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and Community Development Councils (CDCs) to conduct rapid assessments and verifications of flood reports across the country.
Thus far, thousands of food and cleaning hampers have been distributed in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Six, Seven, (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and 10. The hampers being distributed include personal and feminine hygiene items, sanitation supplies, water purification tablets, cement and temporary accommodation equipment. Through the RDCs, additional hampers were distributed to flood-affected residents in Regions Five, Six and 10, while residents of Mahaicony Creek, Region Five, also received livestock feed.
Additionally, the CDC has also established shelters to accommodate affected residents in Lethem, Region Nine, as well as other affected communities along the Berbice River.
Meanwhile, Mid Atlantic Oil & Gas Inc on Sunday donated $10 million to the CDC to support flood relief efforts across Guyana.
Corporate Secretary, Glenn Low-A-Chee handed over the cheque to Director Craig at the Commission’s Headquarters. He explained that this was in recognition of the company’s corporate responsibility and its desire to help bring relief to flood-affected persons.
The CDC Director told reporters that these funds will be mostly directed towards the transportation of relief supplies to be distributed across the country as well as for the transportation of teams to conduct assessments in any other areas that require support.
Also on Sunday morning, several areas in Georgetown were under water following heavy rainfall which begun in the wee hours accompanied by strong winds.
Lt Col Craig joined Mayor of Georgetown Ubraj Narine and Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Chairman Daniel Seeram to inspect the flood situation in the city on Sunday. They visited Albouystown and other surrounding communities that were under water.
Other areas in Georgetown that were flooded included: Central Georgetown, Alberttown, South Ruimveldt, East Ruimveldt, Alexander Village, Mandela Avenue, Home Stretch and Cuffy Square, Front Road, Leopold Street and a few others. Bourda and Stabroek Markets were also flooded.
“What I find most in the communities, garbage and bottles and bags are piling up at the mouth of the drains. So those are things that we have to try to remove and currently, the drainage section of the [M&CC] Engineer Department is on the ground doing such,” Mayor Narine told reporters.
Moreover, Minister Edghill also visited the several pump stations and sluices to ensure everything is in order to allow the flood waters to be drained off the land. Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton also went into several areas in South Georgetown to assess the flood situation and make interventions.
Similarly, several other Government Ministers including Prime Minister Mark Phillips have also fanned out across the country to provide the necessary support for those affected by the floods. They too have been meeting with residents in the different regions across the country and assisting with the distribution of relief items to affected areas.
Persons affected by flooding are asked to contact the Civil Defence Commission on telephone number 226-1027 or 600-7500 (WhatsApp).