Over 3000 persons affected by massive floods in Regions 7 & 8
By Devina Samaroo
The lives of over 3,000 hinterland residents have been significantly affected as a result of the massive flooding which struck several lowland communities in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).
The damage has been severe to the extent where the school in Itabac was washed away and has since been rendered unstable.
Some 3,274 persons have been affected in Region 8. However, the full impact of the flood in Region 7 is still being assessed.
Deputy Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Major Kestor Craig told reporters during a press conference on today (Tuesday, May 23, 2017) that government in collaboration with other agencies have been working assiduously to provide relief to the various areas as floodwaters progressively recede.
He disclosed that some $7.9M has already been expended by the government to bring relief to the residents. The breakdown of this expenditure includes flights totalling some $2.8M, meals some $116,900, hampers-$4.1M, accommodation transportation -$700,000 and miscellaneous- $93,668.
Major Craig noted that the value of the donations from various entities, including prominent businesses, is still being calculated.
Some 327 relief food hampers, each of which can feed a family of ten for up to two weeks, were distributed in Chenapou, Kaibarupai, Waipa, Sand Hill, Itabac, and Kanapang while some 209 relief cleaning hampers were given to Kaibarupai, Waipa, Sand Hill, Itabac, and Kanapang.
Preparations are being made to distribute more hampers as the CDC continues to monitor affected communities.
Other entities that provided assistance are the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, the Ministry of Public Health, the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Water Incorporated, the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), among others.
Meanwhile, other damage from the flood include the destruction of over 80 farms resulting in the wilting of several crops such as cassava, damage to the health post at Kaibarupai, damage to the kitchen at Kanapang School, and damage to parts of the road from Itabac to Kanapang making it impassable to vehicles.
Major Craig also announced that apart from the increase in mosquitoes in some areas and the spread of diarrhoea, there were no major health risks to the residents.
Heavy rainfall over the past few days forced hundreds of persons to seek refuge in uphill areas when the banks of the Potaro River overtopped, inundating homes in as much as 15 feet of water.