THE Government has spent close to $10 million on major drainage and irrigation and other critical emergency works in Region Two to address flooding there.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, on Monday, said this firm approach was taken to ensure residents lives return to normal as soon as possible.
“It will be between five to ten million dollars in emergency works. Moving pumps and installing, undergoing major excavation works at several canals. Right now, as I am speaking here, there are two machines in the Pomeroon doing critical work at Friendship.”
Minister Mustapha said the water has receded significantly there because of the extensive mechanisms that were put in place. The ministry is constantly monitoring and providing assistance where necessary.
“In the Pomeroon, I have sent in a team; instructed the NAREI, GLDA to visit the Pomeroon. They have done an assessment and our first set of help start this week coming… They will be going to give some help to those chicken farmers that would have lost some of the birds there and we are looking at NAREI to give back material, chemicals and fertilisers. We are committed to those kinds of help.”
The Agriculture Minister also said he plans to travel back to the communities to get a first-hand look at the progress made. He also pointed out that all of the pumps installed in the region are functioning effectively.
“In making more resources available, what I have done is put two additional pumps at Andrews and another one at La Union. Those areas have two additional pumps. The four pumps were bought from India, the technicians have set them up, those pumps are in operation now. So, those pumps will be draining Essequibo in a faster rate that the two pumps that we had there before,” the minister added.
Additionally, the minister said some three miles of the outfall channel at Somerset and Berks were dredged following a request from residents.
Senior Response Officer at the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Captain Salim October, told DPI in a telephone interview that a team from the Ministry of Health is also on the ground screening and treating residents’ ailments. At Cross Canal, Dredge Creek, there have been complaints of persons experiencing diarrhoea and other medical issues.
Meanwhile, the CDC has distributed sanitation hampers in both Regions One and Two.
In a newly released report on flooding in the Pomeroon River from January 1 to 17, the CDC says its humanitarian assistance targeted 1,200 severely affected homes. The Commission has also distributed food hampers.
Several recommendations were made in relation to the affected areas such as Dredge Creek, the Charity Housing Scheme, the Charity Squatting Area, Cozier Canal, Lower Pomeroon River, Abrams Creek, Upper Pomeroon River, Siriki, Upper Pomeroon, Jacklow, Upper Pomeroon and Kabakaburi, Upper Pomeroon.
The recommendations include more drainage and irrigation works, elevating farmhouses and pens to protect them from flooding, reliable and safe water supply and establishing facilities that would help safeguard people’s economic livelihoods.
CDC Director-General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, said the Commission continues to monitor the situation and would be doing follow up visits.