Georgetown, Guyana – (May 23, 2017) Two engineers from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) as well as technical staff from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) have been deployed by the Government to the villages of Itabac and Kanapang in Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight) to conduct an assessment of the damaged roads and buildings and to facilitate water quality testing and set up purification systems, with a view to determining the long-term response that will be required from the State. Additionally, a reinforcement team of doctors and other representatives of the Ministry of Public Health will be dispatched to the region tomorrow.

This was announced today by the acting Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Major Kester Craig at a press conference held the Commission’s headquarters to update the media on the flood situation in the region.

The deployment comes one day after Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, visited the villages, which were severely flooded due to the overtopping of several rivers, including the Ireng River. During a meeting with residents on Sunday, Minister Harmon had assured them that the Government will use every resource at its disposal to restore normalcy in the communities, which will range from the restoration of livelihoods to the rebuilding of homes.

The damage to the road between Kanapang and Itabac, which was one of the major concerns raised by the villagers during the Minister’s visit, will be examined, while a team comprising representatives from the Ministry of Communities, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the GWI will be visiting the flood-affected communities to conduct further assessments of the damages and impacts to housing, agriculture and water.

Meanwhile, Major Craig said that floodwaters continue to recede in all of the affected areas in Region Eight, with the water having fully receded from the land in some of the communities. Floodwaters have receded off the land in both Itabac and Kanapang though the water level in the Ireng River remains fairly high due to rainfall over the past two days.

He noted that the health post at Kaibarupai was flooded while the school at Itabac has shifted and is unstable. The school at Kanapang is being used as temporary shelter and the kitchen at Kanapang’s school was damaged.

Thus far, the acting Director General said that 327 relief food hampers along with 209 relief cleaning hampers were distributed among Chenapau, Kaibarupai, Waipa, Sand Hill, Itabac, Kanapang while blankets, collapsible bottles, medical supplies, clothing and disinfectant were also sent in.

He said that the agencies of the state alongside non-governmental organisations have been closely working to bring immediate relief to the affected residents. The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has also deployed two personnel to lend support to the flood relief operations even as the Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Ms. Valerie Garrido-Lowe continues to maintain a presence in the area.

Health officials, who were in the region since Friday, continue to conduct health assessments and medical outreaches in Kaibarupai and Waipa and a quantity of medical supplies has been sent in to be distributed to the residents as the Amerindian Peoples’ Association (APA) continues to receive donations, participate in field visits and to monitor and share information.

Meanwhile, Major Craig said that the Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven) has seen an increase in water on the land and several communities are inundated. A team comprising representatives of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the CDC has been deployed to affected communities across the region to ascertain the extent and impacts of flooding there and to assess the needs at this time.

He noted that the villages of Kako, Kamarang (Warawatta), Jawalla, Waramadong, Imbaimadai, Philippai, Ammokokopai, Quebenang and Paruima are flooded. However, the extent and impacts of flooding continue to be investigated. In Kako, eight houses were flooded; however up to press time, two remained flooded while all farms were under water. Eight households were displaced in Jawalla and 80 farms are affected in Quebenang.

However, the RDC, which worked alongside the CDC earlier this year to complete the Regional Multi-Hazard Preparedness and Response Plan, has activated its Disaster Risk Management Committee and has been actively responding to the flooding in the area. Thus far, they have facilitated a joint field visit to several of the flood affected communities, dispatched cleaning and medical supplies to Kamarang, to be distributed to flood affected communities, are preparing to conduct ground assessments in other affected communities, are making arrangements for aerial assessments through use of a drone and have advised residents to reap crops in affected farms to prevent complete losses.

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