Two days after setting up a shelter for over 40 squatters displaced as a result of flooding at Success, East Coast Demerara (ECD), only one person has taken up shelter at the Graham’s Hall Primary School located at Cummingslodge, ECD.
Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig in an interview with the News Room on Tuesday explained that they are providing food and all other amenities, and is also prepared to support persons for a prolonged period.
The CDC has conducted an assessment of the squatters who were displaced after the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) began flooding the lands a week ago.
The Director-General explained that an assessment was done with 166 persons of which only seven families indicated that they needed shelter.
“Seven families indicated that they have interest but they first want to inspect and check the facilities. One person stayed there last night from about 18:22h and he left this morning to go and continue his normal activities to return this evening. A family of three, a father [of] two children has indicated that they will occupy the shelter sometime today (Tuesday),” the Director-General said.
The CDC is also providing meals for the squatters and while only 48 beds were installed, the Director-General explained that if the demand increases the CDC will put more facilities in place. He explained that males and females will be separated as well as families of three and more. Further, it is mandatory that everyone is screened for COVID-19 before entry into the shelter.
“We have sanitized, cleaned, dusted, mopped and we continue to do cleaning of the compound to ensure the place is of a certain standard.”
Due to the flood a number of squatters began camping out along the dam in the area and have built temporary structures.
“If there are persons who are generally living in condition that deteriorate as a result of increase in water level and they generally don’t have anywhere else to go they will definitely take up the offer to a shelter,” the Director General said.
Staff and volunteers who are trained on shelter management are also on standby to provide support to the squatters.
The lands are owned by GuySuCo and are being prepared for sugarcane cultivation.
GuySuCo has been trying for some time now to relocate the squatters to begin cultivation of the lands but they are refusing to budge and said they have no plans to leave.