Fellow Guyanese, as you are aware
Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil experienced severe flooding. The floods were as a result of unprecedented rainfall during the period of April to June this year. In May alone, Guyana experienced its second highest rainfall in 40 years. The resulting impact saw massive flooding across all 10 administrative regions with over 300 communities directly affected for a protracted period of time. Approximately 52,000 households were directly affected. The Agriculture Sector suffered the greatest loss with 92,000 acres of farm and farmlands completed affected.

The sugar industry was also significantly affected with estimated losses in the fields of over $1.5B.

Over 50 percent of mining operations were affected, as mining communities were cut-off as a result of infrastructural damage. Our initial assessment estimates rehabilitation work in excess of $1B for the mining community.

Initial estimate points to approximately $23B or more in loss of production.

Damage to the Forestry Sector, loss of production and damage to equipment is estimate at an excess of $8B.

The total, socio-economic impact assessment is currently being examined by UN ECLAC.  This would give us an overall understanding as to the cost of this flood to the economy, regions and communities.

Our Government’s initial response was to save lives, protect livelihood, secure health services, and ensure enough food and shelter to satisfy the needs of the people.

These effort saw the distribution of more than 80,000 food hampers, 45,000 cleaning hampers, and more than 5000 medical kits across all 10 administrative regions. More than 10 shelters were established, and extensive support was given to farming communities.

More than 100 pumps and hundreds of excavators were deployed all across the country to support communities and farmers. In addition to this, the Government deployed an extensive fleet of machinery to support regions and communities in their efforts. The structure to manage the flood included a Cabinet task force, a multi-stakeholder national emergency operation centre and 10 regional emergency operation centres.

Having regards for the massive disruption in the economy and household level, particularly the Agriculture Sector, the Government committed to direct transfers to households and farmers to allow them in the first instance, to return to some level of normalcy in their homes whilst supporting the Agriculture Sector to return to productive capacity so as to mitigate against potential food shortages whilst at the same time supporting the farming community.

The assistance I am about announce cover various categories of households and farmers.

Whilst some large farmers where severely affected, especially in rice and poultry, the ceiling of assistance will not exceed $10M for individual farmers.

As you are aware, $10B was approved in supplementary provisions to address these needs.

From the data collected, approximately 52,000 households were affected in the following categories: homestead farmers, kitchen garden, and household exclusive of farms/gardens.

In these categories, farmers within the context of a homestead would receive $100,000 each, those with kitchen gardens will receive $50,000 each and household’s excluding homestead and kitchen garden will receive 50,000 each.

The combined assistance to homestead farmers, kitchen gardens and households for these categories will be in excess of $3.5B.

The rice sector also suffered heavily, with approximately 50,000 acres and 2000 farmers directly affected.  In this category the following assistance will be given:

  • For rice that was ready to harvest but lost in the floods, $80,000 per acre would be given to those farmers.
  • For rice sowed and lost in the autumn crop these farmers will receive $65,000 per acre.
  • For land that was completely prepared but was not sowed, $45,000 per acre would be given to these farmers.

In addition, to this support, 60,000 bags of seed paddy would be made available. The combined assistance in these four categories would be in excess of $3.2B. 

In the livestock industry assistance will be broken down into four categories:

Subsistence farmers, Small farmers, Medium farmers, and Large-scale farmers. 

In these four categories more than 2000 farmers were affected.

In total, these four categories will benefit in excess of $600M direct transfers.

In addition to these direct transfers, the Ministry of Agriculture and GLDA will be assisting through genetic improvements, drainage and irrigation works, technical support, and extension services to the approximate value of $500M.

In addition to this support, ongoing infrastructural works will continue to rebuild damns, farm-to-market access roads, Hinterland roads, mining roads, community roads, drainage systems, and other infrastructure that were destroyed or deteriorated during the floods.

I am aware that this assistance will go a long way in bringing relief. However, it can never compensate for the emotional and social lost, which I saw and experienced firsthand.

I assure you this Government will continue to work on an aggressive national drainage plan in the context of climate change so as to mitigate further climate events and disasters.

I take this opportunity to thank the thousands of Guyanese here and in the diaspora, international agencies, and friends in the CARICOM community and elsewhere for their kind support during this period.

I especially would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture, the CDC, and all the other sectors that worked long beyond the call of duty to bring relief.

I thank you all and God bless you.