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Guyana’s President declares flooding a national disaster


Guyana’s President declares flooding a national disaster
Guyana President, Irfaan Ali. (FP)

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Georgetown – President Irfaan Ali on Saturday proclaimed that the floods across Guyana have reached the stage of a national disaster and crisis.

In a gazetted proclamation of the floods as a national disaster, it was noted that 28 228 households have been affected by flooding.

Some of those households have seen water entering the homes, while in other cases domestic animals and livestock have been left in distress while farmlands have been inundated.

Last week, Ali indicated that the government will be seeking international help to assist in the flood relief efforts.

All ten administrative regions in Guyana have reported flooding and while the water has receded in some areas, it remains high in others.

During an appearance on local radio last week, the President said the situation in some communities was shocking and more than anyone could imagine. He said it was one thing to see the flooding in photographs and another thing to witness the devastation in person.

The Government will go to the National Assembly on Monday to seek GUY$10 billion in a supplementary budget to assist with its flood relief efforts.

Meanwhile, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), which has been leading the flood response and relief efforts, believes that the country will need regional and international support to adequately respond to the needs of the flood-hit areas and assist them in their recovery.

In a statement, the CDC noted that while the Guyana floods have been classified as a Level 2 disaster, indicating that the national capacity to respond is not overwhelmed but external help is needed, the situation in some regions can be classified as Level 3, which would allow for more international support.

“The impact of the flood in the Regions vary, with Regions 1, 3, 4, 8 and 9 being at Level 2, given the national capacity to manage the impact, while Regions 2, 5, 7 and 10 are classified as Level 3, based on the magnitude of the flood.

“It is for this reason that regional and international support is needed to effectively mobilise resources in order to respond and recover from the impact of the floods”, the CDC said in a statement on Saturday.

According to the CDC, since the floods started in May, it has received reports of more than 29 000 households suffering from flooding in more than 300 communities.

With support from the Government and the private sector, the CDC has been reaching out to communities with relief supplies.

“To date, 17 829 cleaning hampers and 21 735 food hampers have been distributed across the regions as a form of emergency relief”.

Shelters have been set up in Regions 2, 9 and 10, housing a total of 205 residents who have been displaced from their homes. (CMC)