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The European Union is allocating EURO 150,000 (GYD$ 37,458,827 ) in humanitarian funding in support of people affected by the recent wave of intense floods that hit communities across Guyana.
The country has been experiencing higher-than-normal levels of rainfall since May and local authorities estimate that the subsequent extensive flooding has affected over 36,000 households across 300 communities, the EU office here said in a release.
With severe weather expected to continue, the main risk is that due to low lying lands and minimal tidal differences, flood waters will retrieve slowly hence generating stagnant pools that would contribute in increasing the risk of water and mosquito-borne diseases.
The current EU humanitarian funding will be channeled towards the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in support of their Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) and will be implemented by the Guyana Red Cross society which is present in all affected districts.
The intervention will last for three months and aims at providing immediate support to 500 vulnerable families currently living in temporary shelters in the most severely affected regions of Upper Takutu, Upper Essequibo, Upper Demerara and Berbice.
Ambassador of the European Union to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantó in brief comments referred to the meeting between the EU Delegation and the Director General of Guyana’s Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on June 11, to facilitate the activation of the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism. Following the CDC’s request the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service was also activated on June 14, to provide satellite maps of the affected flood areas across Guyana.
Ambassador Ponz Cantó highlighted that, “this humanitarian grant of EURO 150,000 is already complemented by the intervention of the French Red Cross, which was coordinated by the Embassy of France in Suriname and channeled via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.’
The EU funding will contribute to enable the Guyana Red Cross to swiftly provide families with kitchen sets, solar lamps, durable mosquito nets to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya or Zika. Families will also receive hygiene kits, jerrycans, household cleaning kits and water treatment tablets to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases which are likely to increase due to the persistence of stagnating water.
With EU funding, the Guyana Red Cross will identify the 200 most vulnerable families and deliver to them Cash and Vouchers so that they can purchase what they most urgently need to help them through the difficult period of dislocation.
In order to mitigate the risks connected to a potential spread of the coronavirus, shelters will be equipped with first aid kits and people will receive 5,000 N95 masks and 1,000 flacons of hand sanitizer.