Gov’t working with flood-affected residents to find solutions – President Ali

Reiterates that safety, shelter of residents vital during visits to regions 10, 6

His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali today travelled to two regions affected by ongoing flooding and promised to work along with the residents to find solutions to their current plight.

The Head of State proceed by air from Georgetown to Lamp Island, Kwakwani – one of the severely affected communities, and then via water to surrounding areas including Bamboo Island, Hururu Mission and Ladern’s Ville.

After the Region 10 visit, the President journeyed via helicopter to Region Six where he stopped in Port Mourant and interacted with residents before travelling via road to Lesbeholden in Black Bush Polder to assess the impact of the floodwaters there.

An unprecedented amount of rain has flooded several low-lying and riverain communities in Guyana, which has affected the lives and livelihood of many citizens.

President Ali not only had an aerial view of the effects of the flooding on large swathes of land, but he also saw first-hand how it impacted the livelihood of residents.

“So what we are focusing now is on livelihood and ensuring that you have food, ensuring that people are safe. If there is a need for shelter we will work on supplying those shelters and ensuring that health needs are satisfied. So, I am not here to give any long speech or anything, we are here basically to listen to you.”  

The President reiterated to residents that Government’s priority at the moment is to save lives and livelihood; to provide shelter, food and medical supplies, and to ensure that the water recedes quickly off of the land.

“We had the opportunity to view it first-hand in a very comprehensive way, especially the savannahs and the backlands and if the rain continues as it predicted then it will be even worse.”

The Head of State reassured residents that additional supplies including food hampers, cleaning products, health supplies and shelter would be provided.

“This response today is basically to touch base with communities to ensure that we have an understanding as to what is happening. To ensure that people have access to food, to ensure that they have access to shelter and medical services and supplies. Those are the key primary things that we have to address.”

“We are here to listen to the leaders, to hear from your perspective about what you see as the priority.”

In addition to livelihood being affected and farmlands being destroyed by the floodwaters, livestock were also battling for survival since there is limited dry space to graze on.

This is especially evident in Region Six where President Ali observed hundreds of cattle and other livestock trapped in floodwaters.

The Head of State said that the relevant authorities are brainstorming ways of rescuing the animals.   He added that in the short term, the farmers will be assisted with feed.

HOLISTIC ASSESSMENT

The President highlighted that the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) along with the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders are working in tandem to do holistic assessments. He said that as soon as the water recedes, another assessment will be done to see what medium to long term help can be given as it relates to farming.

President Ali was initially accompanied by Minister of Public Works, the Honourable Juan Edghill; Minister of Public Service, the Honourable Sonia Parag; Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Godfrey Bess; Director-General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig and other officials during his visit to Region 10.

He was then joined by Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha; Regional Chairman, Mr David Armogan and National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) Head, Mr Fredrick Flatts during his visit to Region Six.

DIRECT INTERVENTIONS

In an invited comment, Craig related that more than 700 households are directly impacted in Kwakwani and the surrounding communities.

As a result, President Ali has directed that a number of interventions, including the establishment of shelters, are to be taken as well as the provision of additional food, water and a rapid health response team to prevent any outbreaks.

Craig said that the CDC will dispatch supplies tonight and a team tomorrow to assist with the coordination on the ground.

He noted that a total of 1800 hampers were sent to Black Bush Polder, 2000 food hampers and 2000 cleaning hampers were distributed to Region Nine, while another 1000 food hampers is being prepared to be sent to Kwakwani.

“A number of hampers were sent today to Region Three and we are securing hampers to send to Region Two. And I just got a request for additional hampers for Region Six. We have also sent a total of over 400 hampers to Region Five.”

According to the Director-General, the CDC will continue to provide relief to affected residents.  

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