Minister Hastings-Williams delivers flood relief to hometown in Region Seven
GINA, GUYANA, Friday, May 26, 2017
Minister within the Ministry of Communities Dawn Hastings-Williams today, delivered food and medical supplies to her hometown of Kako, Region Seven, in the aftermath of the recent flooding.
The minister delivered bed nets, potable water filters, cough syrup, cleaning detergents and other basic supplies to the village’s Toshao, Casey Hastings, for distribution to the residents in the village whose homes and livelihood were affected by the floods.
The minister explained that she coordinated the activity after she received word that the residents were in need of the items. “It saddened me to hear that a lot of families were affected by the flood and particularly their livelihood… I came here in person to see and hear from the Toshao and other residents what has been the damage and to render whatever assistance is necessary to bring back normalcy to the village,” the minister said.
Toshao Hastings was very appreciative of the gesture by the minister. He also praised the timely response of the region in reaching out to the affected communities and residents.
Speaking with the Government Information Agency (GINA) Toshao Hastings explained that, “Water was very high in the community for the first time in my lifetime and 124 households were affected.”
He said whilst only four homes were completely under water, the farms in the communities have been ravaged by the flood.
“Water either covered the farms or we had water coming through the soil and destroying the crops,” the village’s Toshao said. The main crop is cassava which takes almost one year to sow and reap.
He said that the response to the crisis from the government and the region was very quick, and the residents are really thankful for what has been done.
“A few days ago the Chairman of the Region and a team was here and now the minister is here, and we are very grateful for the responses we receive,” he said.
As a result of excessive recent rainfall in the highland regions, several villages in Region Seven including Kako, Jawalla, Phillipai, Kamarang and Duebamang were flooded.
As the water recedes from the land, government has been forwarding supplies to the region. The Region Seven, Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has also begun to lead an effort aimed at assessing the impact of the flooding and the current high water levels in the region.
This effort which has the support of the Civil Defence Commission ( CDC) has also seen the setting up a Forward Operating Centre in Kamarang, which Minister Hastings-Williams also visited today.
The centre was created to provide an open space for coordinating the relief supplies to the affected communities, Planning and Training Assistant of the CDC, Allana Walters, pointed out.
Walters, who is stationed at the Centre, explained that, “what we have been able to do is set up one point where everybody has been able to meet and coordinate our efforts.”
Walters added, “We have boards set up with the different communities, the total population, the households as well as the affected and tracks of what we have been able to send out, and what we are expecting to go out from this room,” she said.
Walters was also in high praise of the RDC leadership and response to the flooding. She explained that CDC has been working with the RDC since last year to develop a Regional Disaster Risk Management System. She added that through this earlier collaboration , the two teams were able to conduct an assessment of the region, develop maps and a plan and form a Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee chaired by the Regional Chairman, Gordon Bradford.
Walters said that this earlier work was crucial to the effectiveness of the region’s response to the flooding, “So when they (the region) got information about what was happening in the Upper Mazaruni, the Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee was able to quickly call a meeting in Bartica and from then they were able to make decisions and mobilise resources to come out and do assessments,” she explained.
“So we are very pleased that, that was able to happen and things are rolling out in that manner consistent with how the CDC looks at disasters and responses,” she added.
The team has been asking the communities to pick up their relief supplies from the Centre. The hampers are prepared based on the information supplied to the Centre by the communities, and from the assessment carried out by the joint effort. The communities are being provided with fuel to take the supplies back to their villages. The provision of the fuel is however a costly exercise and the team is facing the challenge of it running out.
Minister Hastings-Williams however, committed to rectifying this situation as soon as possible.
By Macaila Santos