COVID-19 protocols being observed at CDC shelters

-Regions One, Two should brace for flooding on Monday, Tuesday

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig says the agency is ensuring that all COVID-19 measures are observed at shelters established for flood-affected persons, as taking precautions against the spread of the disease remains priority even as the flood-relief efforts are ongoing.

The Director General made this statement while updating the media Friday on the ongoing national flood relief efforts.

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lt. Col. Kester Craig

“We recognise that we are operating in a complex emergency environment whereby we are responding to floods and at the same time, we are responding to COVID-19…. First and foremost is the safety of persons.

So, at all shelters, we have advised the shelter managers to have the necessary COVID-19 measures in place, including hand sanitiser, encourage shelterees to practice social and physical distancing. Ensure that there’s adequate masks available at the shelters.”

In addition to that, masks are given to response personnel in communities.

Lt. Col. Craig says Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Region Five (Demerara-Mahaica), Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Region Ten (Upper Demerara Berbice) are worst affected by the countrywide flooding.

The CDC is catering for the most vulnerable.

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig inspects a shelter in Region Nine

“High on our priority is getting support to residents who have been displaced as a result of water covering their homes, those who cannot access drinking water and those without food or supplies, as a result of the extremity of the flood situation… Preliminary damage assessments across the various regions indicate that the damages concentrated in the agriculture, transportation, housing and mining sectors.”

In Region Eight, Lt. Col. Craig said there are reports of mudslides as the water descends the mountains into the valleys.

He said 216 persons-117 women and 99 men remain in shelters countrywide.

While there is no outbreak of waterborne illnesses, the CDC would continue to work with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture and regional and international agencies to boost their response mechanism.

Chief Hydrometeorological Officer, Dr. Garvin Cummings

Meanwhile, Chief Hydrometeorological Officer, Dr. Garvin Cummings advises people in Regions One and Two to take precautions against flooding. He said increased rainfall has been forecast for those areas on Monday and Tuesday.

Over the weekend, there will be between one and two inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period.

“Monday-Tuesday, we expect again another tropical wave would impact Guyana. But firstly, I think perhaps the impact would be restrictive, as we see right now, perhaps Regions One and Two. So, those are the two regions of major concern for Monday and Tuesday, assuming that this forecast will hold.

So, we look into that period between two-three inches [of rainfall] in 24 hours. The other regions will be somewhere about an inch in 24 hours after Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, of next week we look at Windows rainfall again just about one inch,” Dr. Cummings said.

He noted that from next Thursday, there is likely to be a reduction in the amount of rainfall.

Kwakwani, Region 10

The CDC is receiving flood response assistance from its regional counterpart, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

About 30 technical officials from CDEMA will arrive in Guyana next week, to conduct a Detailed Damage Sectoral Assessment of the recent floods.  Already, some of the staff are at the CDC’s Thomas Lands Headquarters working along with the local experts to plan the team’s mission.

CDEMA has already delivered 500 cots to Guyana through CARICOM’s Regional Response Mechanism (RRM), in support of its shelter operation.