Scale of disaster misunderstood – President Ali
– Says thousands of Guyanese suffering from devastating effects of current floods
His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali yesterday called attention to the widespread devastation created by extensive flooding throughout several regions of the country and lamented the loss of livelihood and the destruction of homes and farms.
The Head of State made the remarks at the opening of the Saipem Guyana Offshore Construction Facility, located on Water Street, Georgetown, where he used the opportunity to draw attention to the situation currently affecting thousands of Guyanese.
“You may not know what is happening. Many of our brothers and sisters across Guyana are faced with the worst disaster we have ever had, or they have ever had, in the history of our country. You may not see it here. I have just returned from Olive Creek, Kurupung bottom, Jawalla, Kamarang (Region Seven)…I spoke to the people in Jawalla and Kamarang where their entire lives have been destroyed. Everything they worked for all their life has disappeared.”
The President further explained that hundreds of homes have been ruined while thousands of farms have been obliterated.
“And when you speak about the impact; I am telling you about the farmer, over the last four generations had livestock that is no longer there today…Listening to a father in tears telling me that his avocado farm is completely gone, but worse is that the trees will no longer be there after these floods. With his fifteen-year-old son standing behind him, he glances at his son and says – What is this boy going to do? These are very emotional times across our country. The scale of the disaster is misunderstood by those of us in Region Four.”
President Ali pleaded with the audience not to underestimate the scale of the disaster while he reminded them how fortunate the Region Four East Coast residents are owing to the effectiveness of the Hope Canal and its ability to take off massive volumes of water.
GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION
“This is going to take some doing to recover from; mining camps are empty, infrastructure in some instances, completely destroyed. Seeing it firsthand gives you the full extent of the gravity of the situation that you’re faced with right now.”
Earlier on Saturday, President Ali, and his team, which included the Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha and the Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, visited several communities in Region Seven.
At Jawalla, in Upper Mazaruni, the President said that initial estimates indicate that some 60 households have been completely affected, while approximately 169 farms were also inundated.
The flooding there, according to many residents, is the worst ever faced.
President Ali empathised with those affected and assured them that his Government is working tirelessly to put systems in place to help them get back to some level of normalcy.
High on the agenda is the safety of the residents and the supply of emergency items, inclusive of food and medical supply.
In the long term, farmers throughout the country are expected to get assistance. On Friday, the President told Region Three farmers that the Government is working on finding additional resources before going to parliament for a supplementary.
Over the last two weeks, the Head of State has traversed many affected communities, including those in regions Three, Five, Six, Seven and ten, to meet with affected residents and gauge firsthand, the impact of the flooding on their lives and livelihoods.