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…hundreds in shelters, more rains coming
…CDC says working with local stakeholders to improve current and future flood response
Over 36,000 persons have been displaced in Guyana due to severe flooding while approximately 216 are in 9 shelters in Regions 2, 5, 9 and 10.
This is even as Guyana’s weather experts expect above-level rainfall to continue into August. This was information provided by Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig and Chief Hydrometeorological Officer, Garvin Cummings on Friday. In the aforementioned shelters there are 123 females and 93 males and the necessary COVID-19 precaution measures are being applied there.
SUPPORT AND RELIEF
Flooding has been reported in all ten Administrative Regions with priority support going to displaced residents, residents whose homes have been covered by water, those who cannot access drinking water and those without food and other supplies. Regions 2, 5, 6, 7, and 10 are the most impacted regions. In these areas, damages are concentrated in the agriculture, transportation, housing and mining sectors. The Director-General said the flooding has also posed health hazards to some residents. However, except for isolated cases of skin rashes, there is no reported outbreak of flood-related illnesses.
While floodwaters have receded in Bartica, communities in Lower, Middle and Upper Mazaruni remain inundated. Region Eight is affected by minor mudslides and residents and farmlands are affected by flooding while water levels have increased in Lethem and farms in other parts o. Region Nine are waterlogged. In Region 10, floodwaters remain mostly the same.
Craig said that the CDC has received support from Central Government, Local Organs, private sector, non-government organisations, the diaspora and regional and international bodies.
However, he noted that there is still a need for cots, boat engines, aluminum and inflatable boats, mobile pumps and more.
“We have also met with the Minister of Local and Regional Chairpersons, Regional Executive Officers and technical personnel from the Ten Administrative Regions to discuss how we can improve the flood response. This has resulted in improved data sharing of the impact of the flooding across the regions,” the Director-General said.
“The aim is to come up with a long-term solution that will prevent such impact in the future.”
Meanwhile, the CDC has also sent out a team to assist stakeholders in the mining sector in Regions 7 and 8 who have suffered losses due to flooding. The CDC has also reached out to several Caribbean and international agencies with the aim of securing as much support for Guyana as possible, relative to the situation. Also delivering remarks, Cummings said parts of Guyana have seen influences of the Saharan air layer which is dust that has traveled through the air from the dry Sahara Desert. It has been suppressing rainfall activity across Guyana though cloudy and overcast conditions continue.
“Over the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, in the context of things we expect that there will be a reduction in rainfall perhaps between 1 to 2 inches in a 24-hour period,” he said.
However, another tropical wave is forecast to impact the country on Monday with effects also on Tuesday, more so in Regions One and Two. Guyana was recently classified as experiencing 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. Despite Guyana’s situation being classified as Level 2, the impact of the flood in the regions vary, with regions 1, 3, 4, 8 and 9 being at Level 2, given national capacity to manage the impact, while regions 2, 5, 7 and 10 are classified as Level 3, based on the magnitude of the flood. On Saturday, the CDC also reported that the multi-stakeholder National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) has been fully operationalised.
It will provide an enhanced coordinated mechanism that will prevent duplication of efforts, maximise resources and ensure all involved are working collectively as one team in tackling the current floods situation in Guyana. The ministries that are a part of the NEOC include the Ministries of Health, Local Government and Regional Development, Finance, Amerindian Affairs, Human Services and Social Security, Agriculture, Public Works, Foreign Affairs and International Development. The other agencies include the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Police Force (GPF), Guyana Defence Force (GDF) through assistance from the Coast Guard and Air Corps, National Data Management Authority (NDMA), and Department of Public Information (DPI).
Through the Ministry of Agriculture there will be representatives from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), the Hydro Meteorological Office, National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), and the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA). Also on the NEOC are the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and Guyana Red Cross Society.
The NEOC will be the main decision making body during disaster response, and will be the focal point where all information, and data are shared, analysed, and prioritised to guide decisions making.