CDC conducts mapping, monitoring exercise of communities hit by spring tides

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

“What we are doing right now too is mapping, using a Geographical Information System [of] all of the areas that were impacted, to get an understanding of how the high tides are actually affecting the coastline.”

Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lt. Col. Kester Craig explained during an interview with the Department of Public Information on Tuesday. “We will also be closely monitoring future high tides”, he noted, “to see if those same communities are going to be impacted.”

Following the recent high tides and taking climate change into consideration, the Director-General said there is need to establish a long-term building agenda with respect to the country’s sea defences and communities.

With regard to residents in catchment areas, Lt. Col. Craig shared his observation: “I saw many of the homes. Many flat houses were severely impacted, and sometimes the homes were constructed below the level of the road. So, if you have an increase in water levels in the drain, those homes would be impacted.”

As head of the emergency relief efforts, the Director-General noted his frustration with some of the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC) in alleviating the burden felt by the affected communities.

According to Lt. Col. Craig, “we had to clean drains during the actual response when that should have been done long before and not until these things happen. They [NDCs] have a responsibility to the residents… During the [CDC] response, then you see them [NDCs] come together to start getting their work done when they should have done that before.”

Last Sunday, the spring tide was at its strongest with a 3.36m recording. The CDC will conduct another aerial assessment on Tuesday with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

Neighbourhoods along the coast of Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 were affected by floods during the spring tide. However, floodwaters in most areas quickly receded during the low tide. Since then, there has been an ongoing exercise by the commission to distribute relief supplies to residents in the affected communities.

The spring tide period is expected to end on Wednesday, October 2.

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