Gov’t gears up for December-January rainy season
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Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha

THE Ministry of Agriculture is set to soon commence emergency works in anticipation of heavy rainfall and floods during the December-January rainy season.

This was revealed by Subject Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha during an interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Tuesday, where he disclosed that the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) will be spearheading a series of emergency works across vulnerable communities that are prone to flooding.

“We have some emergency works that will start shortly, that will accommodate the heavy rainfall during the Christmas period,” the minister said.
Minister Mustapha said systems will be in place in the capital city, Georgetown. He explained that additional pumps have already been installed at critical areas in the City to ensure sufficient drainage at vulnerable areas.

“We are trying to put all the systems in place but it also depends on the municipality and the City councils, these guys normally get those pumps and they don’t operate them. What I have done is put additional pumps, now we have 14 pumps in the City.”

Meanwhile, in the farming communities across the country, additional works will be done to compliment the works that were done during the recent May/June floods.

“In the farming communities we did a lot of emergency works during the last flood and I am hoping that those works will stand and we will get drainage as quickly as possible. We have also placed additional pumps at various vulnerable parts of the country,” the minister said, adding: “What I have done also is advised the regional chairmen across the country to keep the drainage level of these canals very low, very low so that we can access a reservoir whenever we have heavy rainfall.”

He noted that the NDIA has also been instructed to form a partnership with the various Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) across the region to ensure that all drains and canals are cleared and that all pumps and sluices are operable.

“I have also instructed the NDIA, they have been working with the NDCs and other local bodies to get all the sluices and pumps operable and to ensure that all the canals are clear.”

In a report shared by the minister, it was revealed that the highest amount of rainfall can be expected in Regions One, Two, Three, Seven and the northern parts of Region Eight for the period December 2021 to January 2022.

Additionally, the report stated that there is a high chance for wetter than usual conditions across all the regions. Region Nine and the southern parts of Regions Six, Eight and 10 are likely to experience the least amount of rainfall during this period. However, as the season progresses, water levels in conservancies, reservoirs and inland rivers in Region One, to the northern parts of Regions Six, Seven, and 10 are expected to reach maximum capacity.

This publication recently reported that Hydromet data is estimating that the country will continue to see higher than normal levels of rainfall, akin to what Guyana experienced last year November, and which peaked with unprecedented flooding in May/June this year.

Chief Hydromet Officer, Dr. Garvin Cummings, in a previous interview, said that the Hydromet Office is able to forecast for up to six months and, thus far, from all indications Guyana can expect a recurrence of what was experienced last November.

Beginning from November 2020, Guyana experienced month-on-month unprecedented high levels of rainfall that caused unprecedented flooding all across the country. Though the country is usually prone to flooding, the flooding is usually most common in areas along the coast.

However, the May/June rainy season saw flooding in all the regions, with Regions Two, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine and 10 being severely affected.

President Irfaan Ali had declared the situation a national disaster. Agriculture and mining were some of the hardest hit sectors, and in some cases, entire communities had to be evacuated. Billions of dollars in flood-relief were later distributed to mitigate the impact of the flooding.

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