In continuing its relief efforts in El Niño affect communities, government today, announced that it will be scaling-up plans in preparation for future dry weather cycles.
To this end, President David Granger this morning summoned a meeting to facilitate increased ministerial collaboration.
According to a press release from the Ministry of the Presidency, the President instructed that a Ministerial Task Force be set up under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture to create an action plan that focuses on immediate relief for affected communities.
The Task Force will also focus on medium and long term plans, including the drilling of additional wells and increased water harvesting when the rainy season returns.
Chairman of the NDIA, Mr. John Piggot has been earmarked to chair the body. The work of the Task Force will be resourced, following the completion of an approved action plan.
The Ministry said while a Task Force has been functioning under the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) since October 2015, the new Task Force will continue to function and will report on its activities to the CDC.
It will also include the Ministry of the Presidency, represented by the Minister of State, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Ministry of Communities and the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs.
Key agencies, within the Ministries, with responsibility for various aspects of tackling the El Niño impact will participate in the body’s work. The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the Regional Democratic Councils (RDC) are among these agencies.
In addition, it was noted that the Ministry of Public Health will provide a representative to focus on potential risks for water-borne illnesses and other health related issues.
During the meeting, Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Rapahel Trotman, Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan and the Director of the CDC, Chabilall Ramsarup provided updates to the President on the situation and the work that their Ministries have been doing to tackle the now 10 month old dry spell.
Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region 9) is the worst affected area.