— President Ali
THE Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has advised that the countrywide flooding has reached the stage of being categorised as a Level 2 Disaster. This announcement was made on Wednesday by President, Dr Irfaan Ali, as he addressed residents of Chesney New Housing Scheme, Region Six.
“The CDC advised this morning that the disaster is a Level 2 Disaster so that we can now move the situation to the international community to get international support,” Dr. Ali said as he continued his second day of visiting flood-affected communities in Regions Five and Six.
According to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) Regional Response Mechanism, a Level 2 Event is one in which the national capacity to respond is not overwhelmed, but some external assistance is required. The affected State may or may not declare a disaster. In this scenario, the CDEMA Coordinating Unit may provide technical assistance, specialised equipment, support personnel and information sharing.
In comparison, a Level 3 Event overwhelms the capacity of an affected State to respond. The President did now divulge whether the international community would be approached to provide assistance. However, it was only on Monday night that Vice-President, Bharat Jagdeo, announced the government’s intention to move to the National Assembly today, to seek the approval of a $10 billion supplementary budget to address issues stemming from the ongoing floods.
The CDC had previously reported that in excess of 25,000 households have been affected by the floods thus far. In some parts of the country, such as Region 10, water levels have surpassed 12 feet. In Region Nine, the shortages of food and drinking water have become problematic, resulting in the government intensifying its relief efforts.
During his Wednesday visits, President Ali assured the residents that government is working assiduously to address their concerns. “I am here to let you know that the situation is far from over, but we are going to be here throughout,” the Head of State told the residents.
He assured them too that the assistance being provided by government will not only be in the form of emergency hampers and supplies, but will extend throughout the recovery process.
“I want to assure you that we are going to be with you; we are going to help in the rebuilding process, and we are going to support the rebuilding process,” President Ali posited.
Prior to his stop in Chesney, President Ali engaged the residents of Fyrish village, Corentyne where he reassured residents there that every single community in every region affected by floodwaters, including their community, will be aided. “I am going to every single community across our country to let people understand and to know we are concerned about the situation and we want to help, and we will be helping…. So I’m here this morning to assure you as President that every single community will be served,” Dr. Ali noted. He explained that the immediate needs in many of the flood-affected communities are to ensure that residents have access to an adequate supply of food, clean water, and shelter, as well as health care.
He added that the worst affected are farmers and those whose livelihood depend on the rearing of livestock.
President Ali noted that the CDC has already initiated a programme to ensure that food is delivered to affected areas and that medical supplies and shelters are provided. “We will be working hard to get as much water off of the land as possible; as soon as the water recedes, we are going to have a full assessment,” the President said.
He assured the residents that based on their needs, supplies will be deployed from as early as Thursday afternoon.
Accompanying President Ali in Berbice today are Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall; Director-General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig; Head of the NDIA, Lionel Wordsworth and Regional Chairman, David Armogan, among other representatives.