Georgetown, Guyana – (August 27, 2019) Minister of State, Mrs. Dawn Hastings- Williams, this evening, travelled to several communities in Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten), where she handed over building and cleaning supplies to residents who were severely affected by a freak storm last week.

The storm resulted in several residents losing sections of their roofs, fences and walls while others were affected by flooding. The communities that were most severely affected were West Watooka, McKenzie Central, Blue Berry Hill Squatting Area, Silver City, Silver Town, One Mile and Victory Valley.

Approximately 25 families were affected while damages were also noted at the Silver Town Community Centre, the McKenzie High School at LICHAS Hall and the E-Governance Tower at Blue Berry Hill Squatting Area.

Based on a needs assessment conducted by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in conjunction with the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) on Saturday, August 24, 2019, items such as zinc sheets with screws and cleaning agents were requested.

The Minister of State said that as soon as the request was received, it was forwarded to the CDC for procurement. She noted that the procurement was made possible today and as such, she thought it fit to venture to the communities to immediately hand over the necessary supplies.

“We are here to distribute some items in way of responding to a call we received, more specifically on Friday, when a freak storm passed through the area and resulted in some roofs and zinc sheets being blown off, but the lives of the people were affected. As a caring Government, we have responded and so we are here to deliver to the people because we believe that this will bring [relief] in some way to them. As a caring Government, we will always respond to the calls that we receive from our citizens irrespective of where they live,” she said.

Chairman of the RDC, Mr. Rennis Morian said that while he is happy that Government has responded, he is even more pleased that it is has provided the items that the residents and Region requested. As a matter of fact, he noted that most of the zinc sheets which were blown off were held together with nails for decades. However, the CDC was requested to provide zinc sheets with screws to prevent a reoccurrence and this was done.

“I have to thank the Government and the CDC and also the residents for cooperating and helping each other. This is a powerful expression of the confidence the people have in the Government to come to their rescue when things go bad. Based on what has happened, we would have shared with the Government the needs of the people and these things were purchased. We asked for screws and not nails and they delivered,” he said.

In an invited comment, Mr. Compton Fraser, a resident of Silver Town, said he is happy to receive the assistance from the Government through the CDC since he lost his entire roof during the storm. “I feel happy that they have responded promptly and this shows some good signs that we are in a cooperative mode,” he said.

Ms. Ingrid Thomas, a resident of Blue Berry Squatting Area echoed these sentiments. “I feel good because I have gotten some relief. My roof area from the kitchen to the bedroom was blown off, so this is good,” she said.

In addition to the cleaning and building supplies, the National Frequency Management Unit of the Ministry of Public Telecommunication is working to ensure that the damaged tower is fully operational in the shortest possible time, since it provides internet access to the communities.

Supplies were also handed over to the region to facilitate repairs to the Silver Town Community Centre.

Minister Hastings-Williams was accompanied by Director General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig and Senior Response Officer, Captain Salim October.

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