Residents must play their part to avoid flooding – PM Phillips
…Regions 2 & 5 most impacted
The Prime Minister of Guyana, retired Brigadier Mark Phillips, is asking residents of flood-impacted areas, and by extension Guyana, to ensure they dispose of their garbage in the proper manner.
He said drains and canals continue to be clogged with garbage and unnecessary items, and this exacerbates the problems during the rainy season.
The senior Government official, who leads the National Taskforce on Flooding, made these comments while meeting with taskforce members virtually on Monday evening. The Taskforce is working through the Civil Defence Commission (CDC); the Ministry of Agriculture, via the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and the Hydrometeorological Service; the Ministry of Housing and Water; and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
At the meeting, the Prime Minister stressed that operations have been ongoing since the first reports of heavy rainfall over the last two days. He indicated that while pumps are being installed and excavators are cleaning waterways, all residents must do their part to ensure they are prepared for the impacts of flooding.
“Persons must also be considerate when disposing of their garbage, which, if done improperly, can aid the flooding of several communities,” Phillips emphasised.
On Monday evening, members of the taskforce, including Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal, also gave their assessment of the works currently being executed to remedy the situation.
Minister Mustapha stated that Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Region Two (Pomeroon Supenaam) are the areas along the coastland that are most significantly impacted. He explained that about 70 per cent of the water from Huntley to Abary in Region Five has receded, due to consistent drainage and cleaning operations.
Excavators and pumps have been deployed throughout the impacted communities, and the Minister said he is comfortable with the progress. In Region Two, the dredging of a few rivers, including the Pomeroon River, is high on the agenda so as to alleviate future inundations. Resources have been mobilised in that region so that relief works can begin as soon as possible.
Minister Croal noted that works are also ongoing in Region Nine, and that potable water is accessible once again to affected households. He said that although the water level is still rising, the team on the ground has been working around the clock to ensure that people get the needed help.
At the moment there are three shelters in place in case persons need to be relocated. In addition, distribution of food items will take place through the involvement of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).
Rainfall over the last few days has been excessive. Chief Meteorological Officer Dr Garvin Cummings, in his report, indicated that Region Five had the most rainfall (five inches) from Sunday into Monday.
He said that although the rainfall is expected to be less, residents should continue to remain cautious. Precipitation was above normal in some areas, which greatly exceeded drainage capacity and surface runoff, which has been made worse due to ground saturation, particularly in low-lying and riverine areas.
“The Taskforce, via the relevant agencies and Ministries, will monitor the developing situation continuously, and provide updates as they are available,” the statement added.
On Monday, it was reported that several villages in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) were also under water as a result of the recent heavy downpours that resulted in nearby rivers in Brazil overtopping into the Takutu River.
Persons are encouraged to remain vigilant and cautious during this rainy season, and to report any impacts to local authorities or the National Emergency Monitoring System (NEMS) on 600-7500 or 226-1114.