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…also battling over 140 active COVID-19 cases
Scores of villages across Region Nine are still flooded with over 300 households indicating they are in need of assistance to get by. Earlier in May, reports coming out of the Region painted a grim picture of losses in crops compounded by over 140 active COVID-19 cases there.
In an interview with the Village Voice News, Regional Chairman of the Region’s Regional Democratic Council (RDC), Bryan Allicock said that the situation is concerning as the floodwaters remain and rains continue to pour. “Water is coming back in some areas in the North, the whole roadway is washed away at the entrance to Massara. We have 17 homes underwater in Massara at the moment and then, in the South, over the Rupununi River, the water is coming up again. So, instead of going directly across, we have to go around,” he said.
“We were counting those villages that are affected, they’re sending in their numbers and we have over 331 families within the various villages and we’re still expecting more numbers coming in…we will get probably over 400.”
He said that North, South and Central Rupununi are affected. Some of the names of villages he called included: Sand Creek, Katu’ur, Kumu, Quarrie, Hiowa, Nappi, Parishara, Kaicumbay, Quatata, Yupukari, Katoka, Semonie, Apoteri, Rewa and Fairview among others.
Heavy rainfall, water flow from mountainous areas to lower areas and the rising Rio Blanco (White River) in Brazil have compounded the situation. Those with cassava crops are taking a big blow, Allicock said. He explained: “As soon as it stays underwater for more than three days, that’s it and you can’t really pull it out anymore because only the sticks are coming out and the tubes are remaining in there.”
A resident of Aishalton shared with the newspaper photos of the floodwater still covering farming areas. “This makes transportation for villagers and Government officials difficult. They built a bridge there but there’s a lot of water and vehicles can’t pass there,” one Mr. Hinds said.
In the case of his village, the crops most affected are cassava and banana. The RDC, in collaboration with the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) has begun addressing the situation by sending food hampers and cleaning agents to the affected residents. Heads and other CDC representatives, along with Prime Minister Mark Phillips, have also visited the Region to assess the situation.
The CDC has also sent cement to the Region donated by the Inter Caribbean Maritime Transport Inc. It was given to the RDC to be distributed to the residents whose homes have been damaged due to floods. Meanwhile, the RDC recently sent a new list to the CDC of the other items the Region requires. This is even as the CDC is spreading out its efforts to several other Regions in Guyana affected by flooding.
The Government has also pledged extended assistance to farmers of Region Nine who continue to lose their crops as a result of flooding during the May/June rainy season. Asked what he wanted the public to know at this time, Allicock used the opportunity to urge residents of the Region to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines as there are some 146 active cases in the Region.
He said: “We’re asking people to observe all the protocols. We have some [stubborn] people that still go about doing as they please and the virus is spreading through that means. Some are partying, some are holding other gatherings and I’m asking them to adhere to the instructions and observe social distancing, wash their hands, wear their masks wherever they go in public.”