Georgetown, Guyana -(July 17, 2015) Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman has lauded the efforts of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Ministries of Public Infrastructure and Communities in addressing the flood situation.
These comments come, even as Damage Assessment teams have been deployed by Civil Defence Commission and are currently on the ground in flood affected areas.
According to Minister Trotman, there was almost nine inches of water on the ground in some parts of Georgetown and majority of the water has drained off the ground in less than 48 hours, due to the hard work and efforts of the various agencies that make up the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC). He said that the CDC sprang into action when they were called upon to act and displayed a high degree of competence and professionalism.
With regard to complaints received from residents that some pumps were not in operation during low tide, he said that the advice of engineers and advisors on these matters must be trusted as the pumps had to be maintained, refueled, rested and repaired at various intervals. “Pumps cannot run for 24 hours nonstop”, he said, and the fact that the water is receding at the pace that it is shows that the team has done their due diligence.” However, persons are still being advised to report any such instances when they are observed.
In the meantime, in Region 4, the Damage Assessment teams are working from the University of Guyana access road to Coldigen and from Melanie to Mahaica. A third team is working from Conversation Tree, Bel Air to Meadow Bank.
In Region 3, the teams are visiting affected areas both on the West Coast and the West Bank of Demerara. The teams, according to Major Sean Welcome, a Commissioner on the CDC, the teams will be looking for information with regard to the level of the flood water in their areas or homes, any health problems being experienced, the level of nearby canals and the extent of damages to property, crops, livestock and buildings.
According to Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Colonel Chabilall Ramsarup, the teams are still in the fields conducting assessments and as soon as those are processed, an update on the situation will be given.
He related that there have been calls from several sections of society for a Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC) to be established in Regions 3 and 4. However the activation of this centre is entirely based on the results of the assessments which are ongoing in the communities.
There has been an urgent need for drinking water in some areas. The Director General said that the CDC was putting measures in place to provide black tanks to the communities which can be refilled at any time.
In the meantime, he said that Region 3 which along with Region 4, were the hardest hit areas, is still under water in several areas but the water is receding. In Georgetown, he said, several parts are still inundated but the water was rapidly draining off the ground.
Colonel Ramsarup pointed out that Albouystown however, was the most severely hit in the Georgetown. The CDC coupled with the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and the Ministry of Social Protection though, has opened two shelters in the community to cater for the affected residents.
President David Granger, on Wednesday morning, summoned an emergency meeting of the Cabinet at 04:00am due to the intense flooding in Georgetown, East Coast and other coastal areas. The President committed all of the resources available to Government to ensure that normalcy was restored to affected communities as quickly as possible.
To that end, the President instructed that the CDC work with support from the Guyana Defence Force, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Ministry of Communities to execute flood relief activities. The NEOC was immediately activated.
Georgetown had seen approximately 70mm of rainfall in a 12 hour period. The East Coast of Demerara received approximately 100mm, while Leonora in Region 3 received around 225mm. This resulted in flooding in most low-lying areas.