By Isanella Patoir
The Rotary Club of Demerara is currently raising funds to evacuate 7-year-old Shaniya Persaud to a children’s hospital in Texas, United States as soon as possible.
During an interview with the News Room Thursday, President of the Rotary Club of Demerara, Hansraj Singh said, “We are raising the funds to do the evacuation which is about $4.8M and we are trying to get her out of the country today [Thursday].”
Approximately 97.8% of Shaniya’s body was burnt when her North Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara house went up in flames at around 1 am on August 4, while she was asleep.
She remains in a critical condition at the hospital with life-threatening burns and has been accepted to the Shriners Hospital in Galveston Texas for emergency treatment.
“The surgery is being done free of cost by a hospital in Texas…it’s like the best burn care medical facility in the US for kids,” Mr Singh said.
A relative, Vimla Biswah and her husband rushed the brave little girl to the Georgetown Public Hospital after she walked out of the burning house with her skin almost burnt off and her feet bleeding with cuts.
Shaniya’s older brothers – ages 13 and 9 – ran out of the house and left her inside while her mother was at a wedding house in the same community.
The Rotary President told the News Room that he made contact with Government officials to expedite the passports for Shaniya and her mom; he is also in contact with the U.S Embassy so that they too can fast-track the processing of the visas.
“I am in contact with the U.S Embassy to have the visas as soon as we receive the passports, so the aircraft that is going to be evacuating her has to come from the US,” Mr Singh said.
The Rotary Club of Demerara is coordinating with other agencies to raise the necessary funds to evacuate the little girl.
Mr Singh said that a non-governmental organisation – Saving Hands Emergency Aid (SHEA) – is assisting with half of the funds, while the surgery will be done free of cost. The total cost for evacuation is about US$42,000.
He said it is urgent that she is evacuated as soon as possible, as there is nothing that can be done to help her in Guyana.
“They have her on life support at the ICU unit at GPHC, so there is not much that they can do for her, the only option is to evacuate her,” Mr Singh said.
Anyone willing to assist Shaniya Persaud can make direct donations at Rotary Club of Demerara’s Republic Bank Account #6 526 214.