Guyana and Suriname NDCs update CDEMA on Flood Impact

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) on Saturday engaged National Disaster Coordinators (NDCs) to discuss the impact of the floods in Guyana and Suriname and the relief management approach to be taken.

The meeting chaired by CDEMA’s Executive Director (ag) Ms. Elizabeth Riley saw Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig and Head of Suriname’s National Coordination Center for Disaster Relief (NCCR), Colonel Jerry Slijngard updating the region on the situation which is affecting thousands of residents in both countries.

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig

The meeting was informed that eight out of ten districts in Suriname are inundated, affecting at least 8,473 households, while in Guyana more than 29,000 households in more than 300 communities are affected, with 205 persons placed in shelters.

CDEMA’s Programme Manager for Preparedness and Response, Ms. Joanne Persad, said the meeting also sought to explore priority needs of both regional partners and come up with a system to prevent a flood of unsolicited goods.

Guyana was commended for implementation of a Tracking Matrix which allows it to update its Needs List, based on resource allocation, which CDEMA has promised to further discuss, with a view of synchronizing the information.

Head of Suriname’s National Coordination Center for Disaster Relief, Colonel Jerry Slijngard

Both countries were asked whether there is a list of organisations to which relief items can be consigned, and whether duty free concessions were being offered to these organisations since there was an issue in a member state where containers purporting to transport relief items were found to be carrying personal items.

Lt. Colonel Craig explained that in Guyana’s case, the CDC is not providing concession to items shipped to any organization adding that the Commission encourages a Coordinated Approach where supplies are handed over to the CDC for packaging then distributed to residents through local government bodies.

CDEMA also acknowledged Guyana’s request for technical assistance in the form of sectoral damage assessment teams to assess the five severely impacted regions.

The regional disaster body further urged Guyana and Suriname to start looking at recovery planning which is critical to accessing financing and livelihood planning.