Georgetown, Guyana – (May 30, 2017) Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight) and Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven) are gradually returning to normalcy as floodwaters continue to recede. The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) is working with the Ministries of Agriculture, Communities, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and Social Protection to assist the residents in their recovery and rebuilding efforts.

The Ministry of Agriculture is reviewing assessment reports and is in the process of delivering supplies and other items needed to ensure that farmers can replant in areas where there was crop damage. As soon as these are acquired a team from the Ministry will move into the area and begin to work with the affected farmers.

The Final Report from the infrastructural assessment carried out by the engineers from the Guyana Defence Force Engineers’ Corps and the Guyana Water Incorporated is expected to be handed over to the CDC by the end of tomorrow. Once this is done, the Commission will engage the Ministries of Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs to determine responsibility for further rebuilding efforts in the affected communities.

Director General of the CDC, Colonel Chabilall Ramsarup, in an invited comment earlier today, said that the agencies of the State as well as other stakeholders will meet on Friday to develop a full plan for the recovery and rebuilding of the villages.

“We are in the recovering and rebuilding stage and we will be having a meeting with the Ministry of Communities, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the Regional Chairmen of Region Seven and Eight to see what exactly is needed by the residents to get them back to their normal lives. For the farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture will assist in providing seeds and so on,” he said.

Colonel Ramsarup said that, so far, there have been no reports of disease outbreaks in any of the affected regions or villages, but the Ministry of Public Health is monitoring the situation.

Deputy Director General of the CDC, Major Kester Craig, in an invited comment said that while the Commission has dispatched two weeks’ worth of food supply to the affected residents in both of the regions, it is also collaborating with the Ministry of Social Protection to provide psychosocial support to the affected residents.

“It is important when communities have been impacted by disasters that we try to listen to them and that’s the whole aim; to see how this disaster is impacting them and their livelihood and how we can guide and support them,” he said.

Additionally, on Saturday, the CDC dispatched chainsaws, cutlasses, hoes, spades, shovels, pick axes and other tools to the residents of Kaibarupai, Region Eight, one of the worst affected villages in that region due to the flash flooding last week, to assist in their rebuilding efforts. The residents indicated to the CDC team that they were willing to rebuild, however, they would need assistance in finding the necessary tools.

Regional Disaster Management Plans

During the flooding in Region Seven, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), which worked alongside the CDC earlier this year to complete the Regional Multi-Hazard Preparedness and Response Plan, was able to activate its Disaster Risk Management Committee and actively respond to the affected areas. As such, the CDC was only tasked with dispatching supplies and offering guidance.

Colonel Ramsarup said that this supports the Commission’s mission of formulating Regional Multi-Hazard Preparedness and Response Plan and putting Disaster Risk Management Committees in place in all of the regions. “We recognise the importance of these plans in all of the regions. We are currently working with Regions Nine and Ten and before the year is out we will be working with Four and Eight. The CDC recognises that it is a small organisation and when there is disaster it doesn’t strike in just one region so we are trying to make all of the regions ready to respond to disasters. We need to have first responders in place so that if something happens people can respond more on the ground because it is the communities, which are first affected,” Colonel Ramsarup said.

Meanwhile, Toshao of Kako Village, Region Seven, Mr. Casey Hastings said that the leaders and residents of that village were satisfied with the Government’s response to the flooding. He noted that this is the first time in the village’s known history that flooding of such magnitude was recorded and the response cannot be faulted.

“We are very happy with the response we received from the Government, the CDC and the Region. We could have seen that the Region was prepared to deal with the situation and the response was very good and we were pleased that we could have gotten assistance,” he said.

The Toshao said that the community has been cooperating and helping each other to rebuild.

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