Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lethem flood declared a national emergency

-Gov't will spare no amount of resources to bring relief to affected residents

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday declared that government is treating the flood wreaking havoc in Region Nine as a national emergency, and said no effort or resources would be spared in bringing relief to those suffering there. He spoke to reporters at State House yesterday, before an accreditation ceremony for Norway’s non-resident Ambassador to Guyana, Turid Rodrigues Eusebio.
“At the Cabinet meeting this morning, we discussed extensively the emergency situation we have in Region Nine. By now most of you would be aware of the measures we are taking to bring relief to people in that region. I was aware of the problem although I was abroad. I kept in close contact with my office. I have asked the entire Government apparatus to kick into relief mode,” he said.
“We committed to and spent probably close to $50M, but there is no limit to bringing relief to our people. So whatever is necessary to bring relief we will spend it to bring relief to them, over the short term and long term,” said President Jagdeo.
He noted that Prime Minister Sam Hinds went to the Rupununi, and Robeson Benn, the Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, was there.
“I got a report from [Benn] this morning that they are trying to take fuel through the road. The trucks were stuck, but they are trying to take the fuel in by boat. We are treating this as an emergency situation although it is limited to a specific part of the country. We are treating it as a national emergency,” he said.
“As such, all the resources of the State would be focused on bringing relief to people. But because the situation is peculiar in those areas, where people rely largely on agriculture for their living, and all the crops would have been destroyed by now, I also said to the Minister of Agriculture to ensure that they work on a plan that we can support people for the next six months, at least with food supplies and planting material, so that they could return their lives to normalcy,” the President said.
Noting that this is not a short-term arrangement, President Jagdeo said the plan is to help people over the long term. “I have also asked that a team visit the Berbice River. I have heard that the water has risen by Kwakwani. Tomorrow (today) there will be a team going in there to look at Kwakwani and all the other villages along the Berbice River to [ensure] that we are on top of this situation. If people in those areas need some assistance, we will get [that assistance] to them too,” he said.
With six or more days of rainfall expected, government is continuing its focused support, with the major interventions being taking food to the communities.
The president said that while fuel on its way to Lethem has been delayed because of the poor condition of the road, the teams on the ground are making efforts to take that fuel to Lethem by boat. The President also spoke of the possibility of sourcing fuel from neighbouring Brazil, if necessary.
According to reports, heavy rains have been pushing the basins of the Ireng and Rio Branco rivers on the Guyana-Brazil border to their limits, forcing water into the already swollen tributaries, which then spread to other low-lying areas.
It is the second time in about two weeks that Lethem and its surrounding areas have come under floods. Flood waters menaced the areas in the third week of May last.

1 comment:

  1. This is indeed a National emergency cause these people are really affected by the rains in some photo that i saw water where up to their necks and it good that our govt is put all their focus to the affected region.