— President Ali assures nation
PRESIDENT, Dr Irfaan Ali, has committed to providing both short and long-term support to meet the needs and concerns of every community that has been affected by the floods.
The President gave this commitment during a visit to 10 communities in East Berbice, Corentyne, on Wednesday.
“I am here to assure you that every community will be served, we will be in every single community,” he told residents at Fyrish, East Berbice, Corentyne, pointing out that a request is being drafted to get additional funding. The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has categorised the countrywide flooding as a level two disaster.
“We are working on a supplementary provision to go to Parliament to get additional resources to support our efforts,” he said, adding that, “We are going to be with you, we would help in the rebuilding process, we will support in the rebuilding process.”
In light of the flooding, the President, along with Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha; Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall, and regional officials visited communities across the region to better understand the issues affecting residents.
The President reiterated that the immediate concern of his government is to ensure those affected have access to food, shelter and healthcare. He also noted that as a short-term solution to bring immediate relief, more food and sanitation hampers will be distributed to residents today.
“We started a programme by the CDC to ensure we get food to affected area, shelter; medical supply. As soon as the water recedes, we are going to have a full assessment by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Regional Democratic Council, and that team will be here to do a full assessment on the damage to every single farmer, family. Once you are affected, they assess what took place then that medium and long term help will come. I am here to assure you that every community will be served, we will be in every single community.”
Among the concerns raised by residents include the need for better drainage, roads and streets; poor management at the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs); loss of crops and livestock; and damage to property, as a result of the flooding. An excavator will be sent to Fyrish to clear the internal drains in that community to enable faster drainage of accumulated water there.
Minister Dharmalall was tasked to return to the communities which raised concerns about the NDCs. He will also follow up on the drug shortage after residents complained to the President that there is a shortage of medication at several hospitals.
Meanwhile, the biggest challenge affecting cattle farmers is the unavailability of dry lands to move their animals. Some 20,000 heads of cattle are in the Cookrite savannah. The authorities have been assisting to bring out calves and other sick animals stranded there.
Guyana Livestock Development Authority, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Dwight Waldron, said areas in Letter Kenny and aback Skeldon Estate are being looked at as possible relocation zones to move some 30,000 animals between Number 52/74 and the Black Bush area. Feed is being produced at the Skeldon Estate Compound and given to farmers across Regions Five and Six Minister Mustapha also committed to continued interventions to ensure excess water on the land is drained off in a timely manner as well as to provide support to farmers.