Region Nine welcomes CDC assistance as more floods loom

-over 300 households affected

Over 300 households and hundreds of acres of farmlands have been affected by the recent seasonal flooding in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine).

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig, who led a team to the Region to provide emergency aid, advised residents to avoid the floodwaters. The CDC delivered 4,300 hampers; 2000 sanitation hampers and 2,300 food hampers to the Region, in addition to organising emergency shelters for residents, who were forced to abandon their homes.

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lt. Col. Kester Craig

Lt. Col. Craig noted that the flash flood was caused by heavy rainfall and the overtopping of the Rupununi River. Flood waters are currently receding in Central and South Rupununi, but in the South Pakaraima, Toshao of Karasabai, Mr. Marlon Edwards is fearful of a possible flood.

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lt. Col. Kester Craig and a resident of Region Nine

“What happens during… is that Karasabai becomes an island. We would be surrounded by very high water and it is very difficult for us to traverse, for us to go to Lethem, for us to go to Georgetown. So, we would be stuck here for the meanwhile,” he told DPI.

Lt. Col. Craig said another flood is likely and advised there must be a collaborative effort to examine ways to mitigate its impact.

Toshao of Karasabai, Mr. Marlon Edwards

“I think it is unsustainable to continue to be responding every time to incidents. So, I think we need to talk about how we reduce the risk. We would have worked with this entire Region to develop a risk profile that outlined some of the high-risk areas and I will share that risk profile document with the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority,” he said.

Meanwhile, four buildings have collapsed in Sand Creek, Awarewaunau, Shea and Aishalton.

A house in Tabatinga, Region Nine

At Sand Creek, 114 households were affected and there have been cases of persons suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting.

Toshao of Shea, Mr. Jason Kaikan said the building that came crashing down was used as a garage for the village’s tractor. The structure collapsed killing several sheep.

The Mayor and Town Council of Lethem relocates a resident to the shelter at the Tabatinga Sports Complex

“Seven sheep have been killed; four belong to the school and two belong to the villagers and one also belong to one of them teachers. Twelve sheep were rescued and they are safe now.”

Many villages depend heavily on subsistence farming, planting mostly cassava, papaya and plantains.

Toshao of Aishalton, Mr. Michael Thomas said the flood has caused many cassava tubers to rot, forcing villagers to harvest prematurely.

Toshao of Aishalton, Mr. Michael Thomas

“We are working closely with the Region also to address these issues but it would be grateful if you can intervene immediately in supporting our farmers with the farine pans and the barrels for faster processing of their cassava,” Mr. Thomas said.

Meanwhile, the CDC has established a men’s and women’s shelters in Lethem, which have been equipped with cots and personal hygiene hampers for 36 persons.

CDC Duty Officer, Ms. Sauda Roberts transporting flood relief hampers

The Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has also converted the Culvert City Nursery, Arapaima Primary and Tabatinga Sports Complex into shelters. Five persons are currently housed at the Tabatinga Sports Complex.

The regional authorities will be assisting with meals, while the CDC has equipped the facility with the necessary amenities.

CDC team braves the weather to enter Sand Creek, Region Nine

Resident of Tabatinga, Mr. Solomon Hanief is thankful for the intervention of the CDC and the Mayor and Town Council of Lethem. 

“I would like to say kudos to the CDC for the timely intervention. I would like to say thank you on behalf of me and my family and my tenant, I would like to say thank you.”

A CDC shelter in Lethem

Lt. Col. Craig said the shelters would be observing the gazetted COVID-19 safety measures.