Government taps diaspora for flood relief support

Prime Minister, Hon. Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips on Friday met the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s Diaspora Unit and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) to explore ways through which the Government could garner support from the diaspora for local flood relief efforts.

Prime Minister Phillips told the virtual meet that Guyana, over the past two weeks has experienced two and a half times more rainfall the country is accustomed to during the May/June rainy season.  

Prime Minister Hon. Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips takes a first-hand look at the flooded areas in Region Nine

“The reality is the draining system is unable to take off that rainfall, hold it and then deposit it into the Atlantic Ocean.”

Following reports of rising water levels countrywide, the PM said the Government has established a rapid support system to assist affected households. 

“A lot of water has accumulated on the land, especially in the low-lying areas. The reality [is] we have suffered a lot of losses of crops; rice, sugar, other cash crops and livestock, and the water continues to remain on the land.”

While the Government has been receiving tremendous support from the private sector and other agencies, more relief supplies are needed.

Prime Minister Hon. Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips examines hampers prepared for Region Nine flood victims

CDC’s Director General, Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig said the Commission needs an additional 25,000 food hampers, 25,000 cleaning hampers, 5,000 personal-care kits for men and women, 5,000 children’s care-kits, water and storage equipment, 50,000 personal protective equipment (PPEs), human resources as well as transportation equipment, specifically trucks, bikes, pick-ups, tractors and trailers.

Monetary donations are also welcomed. Wire transfers can be sent to the CDC’s Republic Bank Limited account number: 962356519938; swift code: RBGLGYGG.

Prime Minister Phillips gave assurances that all wire transfers will be managed with the highest level of transparency.

He also noted that the administration was able to morph its pandemic response operations with the CDC’s flood response. He said the Government will immediately start recovery operations which will the see the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure, replanting of crops and livestock.

Lieutenant Colonel Craig said since May 18, the CDC has received more than 20,000 reports of flooding across all ten administrative regions.

CDC Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig examines this cot prepared for flood victims

He said Regions Six, Seven Eight, Nine and Ten have recorded the highest percentage of affected households. As part of the Government’s relief efforts, the CDC has activated shelters in Regions Nine and Ten. The CDC Head also said the commission continues to conduct rapid on-the-ground and aerial flood assessments in key affected areas. These include Regions Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven, Eight and Ten.

So far, 16,000 food hampers and 15,000 cleaning hampers have been distributed to the over 20,000 affected households.