Flooding in Region 9 “not a crisis”- Mayor Beckles
DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo led a team including Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, and members of the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) yeterday, July 3, 2017 to assess firsthand, the flood situation in Lethem, Region Nine. The team visited several flood affected communities, met with the regional officials and residents of the flood affected communities.
Three days and nights of constant rain and a rise in the level of the Takatu River has left several villages in the Region Nine, Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo area flooded. The Tabatinga Creek and the Takatu River have overflowed their banks, the Rio Bronco in Brazil is also filled to capacity and is backing up in the other tributaries.
Twenty households are currently under water in Tabatinga area, “some have moved,” to stay with families and some are at the shelter, the Regional Chairman Brian Allicock said. He further added that the assessment mission officially began Sunday evening, by the Regional Disaster Committee.
Three shelters have been set up at Arapiama Primary School Annex bottom flat, Culvert City Nursery School, and the Amerindian Hostel in St. Ignatius. Allicock explained due to the flooding, the roads to Parishara, Nappi and Hiowa are “washed away and residents have to be transported in boats.
Farms in at least 50 villages, the Regional Chairman said, have been destroyed by the flood waters at a time when villages such as Parishara, Nappi and Hiowa have been cut off from Lethem as a result of the now deplorable conditions of the roads. Access to the South is cut off because the river is flooded and there is water in the savannas.
Persons cannot cross in the night Allicock said, vehicles cannot cross the bridge at St. Ignatius, “the vehicles cannot cross
there anymore, it is now covered in approximately eight feet of water”.
The main road to Georgetown is worst due to the heightened rainfall Allicock said, “Smaller vehicles are taking a longer time, to cross because of the trucks damaging the roads.”
Health workers in the region said that, as of today there was no threat of major health risk from the flood. However, they are on the lookout for water borne diseases, with the continued flooding, diseases will arise, since there are many outdoor latrines (pit-toilets), and animals in the water.
Deputy Director General of the CDC, Major Kester Craig advised that there be health monitoring at the shelter, this is to reduce the cases of any illness spreading.
There is also the issue of increased number of snakes in the region due to the flooding. Ministry of Public Health will be working to ensure that the health centres have adequate antibiotics, and anti-venom snake shots. Health Care provider, Junita Jerrick explained that health workers are currently carrying out a house to house education exercise with the residents, to ensure that black tanks (water tanks) are treated with chlorine tablets.
Prime Minister said the team should “reach out to communities where they have some reservoir or facility (a tank) to provide them with tablets.” This is to ensure that all have accessible and potable water.
Meanwhile, Mayor of the Region Carlton Beckles said the flooding is not as severe as the flood in 2011. “In terms of describing it as a crisis, it has not reached that stage as yet,” however precautionary measures are being taken. He also urged persons to inform the Command Centre before broadcasting over the radio, for this creates “alarm and anxiety in citizens.”
The preparedness and response manager of CDC, Major Shawn Welcome has been deployed to the Region to guide and give technical support to the Regional bodies.
The CDC took sanitary flood relief items in for the flood victims today-bleach, mops, and disinfectants. Major Craig commended the Regional Democratic Council, regional officers for activating the Regional Operating Centre, and the response to disaster preparedness.
Additionally, CDC continues to monitor the situation on the ground and provide necessary interventions to the flood affected communities.
By: Zanneel Williams