Berbice, Guyana (June 9, 2021) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali led a team on a massive outreach exercise across Region Six today to brief residents from ten affected communities on the ongoing flood situation, intervention measures, and more importantly, to personally address their concerns.
Over the course of the day, he listened to the plight and stories of numerous affected persons and promised to put systems in place to ensure that they receive help at different phases of the rebuilding process.
“Whilst I am very, very pleased to be here, we are here under very, very difficult circumstances for you, not only for you but for Guyanese all across our country.”
The President also told residents in Chesney New Scheme, his second stop in today’s outreach, that the rainfall has been unprecedented.
“There have been historic levels of rainfall; the volume of water in the backlands and across our country is just enormous. Enormous volume of water, not only for you in Region Six but all across our country.”
He further explained that even if the rain abates and there is continuous pumping of water, there is still a substantial amount that has to be drained.
“That is why I’m here, to let you know that the situation is far from over but we are going to be here throughout. The same support that the Government gave you in the initial phase will continue.”
With regards to the loss of livestock and farmlands, the President explained that while there is nothing that can be done now, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) will have a full assessment of the damage when the water recedes.
The Head of State was accompanied by several officials from various Ministries and agencies, including the Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, the Honourable Nigel Dharamlall; Director-General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig; Head of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Mr Lionel Wordsworth and Regional Chairman, Mr David Armogan.
While in Fyrish, the President pointed out that the immediate need in many affected communities is to ensure that people have access to food; health care and shelter.
“Those are important things for us right now.”
After listening to the concerns raised in that community, he assured residents that an engineer will be on hand to ascertain what “immediate help” can be given. He said that assistance will also be provided by the RDC and the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA).
“By the time I’m finished today, they will tell me what they recommend, and we will see what we can do in terms of the immediate drainage, in terms of the food supplies, feed and so on.”
In Port Mourant, the President promised hands-on assistance for livestock stranded in the floodwaters.
“Dr [Dwight] Waldron (DCEO of GLDA) and his team, they are around the country 24 hours doing a good job at ensuring feed supplies get to the farmers….”
Dr Waldron informed that, to date, they would have already produced 40,300 pounds of feed at the Skeldon compound, some of which were sent to assist neighbouring Region Five.
He said too that provisions are being made to safely house thousands of heads of cattle in several areas, including at the back of the Skeldon Estate.
Transportation, according to the GLDA official, will be provided for those who need to move their animals to higher grounds, since the welfare of the animals is top priority.
Meanwhile, the President said that the financial impact of the floods will not be known until the water recedes.
“There you will have an assessment as to how your lives are affected, especially farmers, poultry farmers, livestock owners; that is when you’ll have the full impact.”
While in Number 59 Village, residents were also briefed on immediate interventions to secure their livestock.
IN THIS TOGETHER
During the outreach, President Ali also announced that the CDC has advised that the flood situation across the country is now a Level 2 Disaster.
At Level 1, no external assistance was required, and there was no need to activate the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) Regional Response Mechanism.
The areas visited in Region Six included Fyrish, Chesney Old Housing Scheme, Chesney New Housing Scheme, Port Mourant, Mibicuri, Johanna, Manchester, Nos. 52, 53, 59 and No 70 villages.