Residents must play their part to avoid flooding – Prime Minister Phillips

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips is asking residents of flood-impacted areas and by extension all of Guyana to ensure that they dispose of their garbage in the proper manner.

He said that drains and canals continue to be clogged with garbage and unnecessary items, which exacerbates the problems during the rainy season.

The senior government official, who leads the National Taskforce on Flooding, made these comments while meeting with taskforce members virtually on Monday evening.

The Taskforce is working through the Civil Defence Commission (CDC); the Ministry of Agriculture via the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and the Hydrometeorological Service; the Ministry of Housing and Water; and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF)

At the meeting, the Prime Minister stressed that operations have been ongoing since the first reports of head rainfall over the last two days.

He indicated that while pumps are being installed and excavators are cleaning waterways, all residents must do their part to ensure that they are prepared for flood impacts.

“Persons must also be considerate when disposing of their garbage, which if done improperly can aid the flooding of several communities.”

WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK

On Monday evening, several members of the taskforce, including the Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha and the Minister of Housing and Water, the Honourable Collin Croal also gave their assessment of the works currently being executed to remedy the situation.

Minister Mustapha stated that Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) and Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region Two) are the significantly impacted areas along the coastland.

He went on to explain that about 70% of the water from Huntley to Abary in Region Five has receded due to consistent drainage and cleaning operations.

Excavators and pumps have been deployed throughout the impacted communities and the Minister said that he is comfortable with the progress.

In Region Two, the dredging of a few rivers, including the Pomeroon River, is high on the agenda so as to alleviate future inundations. Resources have been mobilised in that region so that relief works can begin as soon as possible.

Minister Croal noted that works are also ongoing in Region Nine and that potable water is accessible once again to affected households.

He said that although the water level is still rising, the team on the ground has been working around the clock to ensure that people get the needed help.

At the moment there are three shelters in place in case persons need to be relocated. In addition, food items distribution will take place through the involvement of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).

Rainfall over the last few days has been excessive.  Chief Meteorological Officer, Dr Garvin Cummings, in his report, indicated that Region Five had the most rainfall (five inches) from Sunday into Monday (24 hours).

He said that although the rainfall is expected to be less today, residents should continue to remain cautious.

Precipitation was above normal in some areas which greatly exceeded drainage capacity and surface runoff, which has been made worse due to ground saturation, particularly in low-lying and riverain areas.

The Taskforce, via the relevant agencies and Ministries, will monitor the developing situation continuously and provide updates as they are available. Persons are encouraged to remain vigilant and cautious during this rainy season and to report any impacts to local authorities or the National Emergency Monitoring System (NEMS) on 600-7500 or 226-1114.

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