Over 90% of coastal drainage infrastructure operational – PM

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, said that over 90 per cent of drainage infrastructure, including pumps and sluices, are fully operational and are being used to abate the floods along the coast.

(L-R) Prime Minister retired Brigadier Mark Phillips and Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig

The Prime Minister made the disclosure Sunday, following a meeting with the Cabinet Task Force on Flooding, at the office of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).

The task Force met to provide an update on the floods.

“Based on the reports coming out of our meeting… we are in a very good situation right now as it pertains to the operation of pumps, especially because we went through, from the last flooding to now, an exercise where many of the pumps were repaired.

Of course, a few of them have some defects and may not be functioning, but those repairs are ongoing. We’re in a far better stage now than we were six months ago.”

(L-R) Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal and Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall

Many of the sluices and pump stations, the Prime Minister noted, were inspected by ministers of government, regional and neighbourhood authorities, who, in turn, reported to the constituents of the task force.

Due to the severe impact of the May/June flooding event, the country’s preparedness to provide mitigating responses was boosted.

First meeting of the Cabinet Task Force on Flooding

Notably, the PM received reports during the meeting that all the pumps in Georgetown are working, and one of those was even boosted in its capacity to pump water.

“Even though we had a lot of water, for example, this morning in Georgetown, and by now, you drive around town, you see most of the water receding, because there’s a combination of the operations of the pump and the gravity flow,” Prime Minister Phillips said.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall was present during the meeting and reported to the Task Force that Georgetown was under control.

About 5,900 households affected

The Prime Minister said exceptional rainfall measurements were recorded. “Out of the 70 listed NDCs, we’ve had flooding reported in 23 of those NDCs, affecting just about 5,900 households, I am told.”

Regions One through to Six are affected.

Preparedness and Response Manager of the Civil Defence Commission, Major Salim October

“Our major concern is Region Two. Based on all the information we have at hand Region 2 is severely affected in terms of the water level, and the areas that are covered by water.”

The hydromet office has reported that two to three inches of rainfall each day, are expected over the coming days.

Do your part, take precautions

The Prime Minister has urged responsibility and preventative measures, as the flooding event is expected to continue

“We appeal to the people of Guyana and all communities because all communities could be affected by flooding over the next 48 hours, to do your part, take the necessary precautions for yourself, whatever livestock you have, and also, if there’s any encumbrances or cleaning of drains and so, just do it now, because that will help in our effort.”

CDC’s Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, said responding to floods is the responsibility of all. He said the CDC has observed that communities have taken preventative actions based on their experiences with the last flooding events. He urged communities to remain alert.

CDC’s Preparedness and Response Manager, Major Salim October, explained that the commission has mechanisms in place to provide timely information to the public and receive information on important developments.

He said the CDC has a public information officer who provides live updates to the public and technical agencies.

He also discussed the CDC’s national emergency monitoring system, which supports the national flood plan, among others. He said through this mechanism, all local democratic organs are linked in a way that allows for a comprehensive reporting system to the CDC. This includes Whatsapp groups which allow reporting at any time during a 24-hour period, October indicated.

“We will pick up that report, analyse it, verify it, and where necessary, coordinate with any technical agency or policy agency to effect any response necessary. Members of the public can report into our system, on our Whatsapp number 600 7500.”

Also present at the meeting, either in person or virtually, were Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal; National Security Advisor, Captain Gerry Gouveia; Chief Hydrometeorological Officer, Dr. Garvin Cummings; Chief Executive Officer of National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth; and other key heads and representatives of agencies that report to the Task Force.


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