Continuous monitoring, support after flooding devastates Reg. 9

- PM assures residents

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Flooding in Region Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo) is expected to continue as the rainy season is not yet over and as such, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips has assured residents that there will be continuous monitoring of the situation and that support will be provided to mitigate the impact of the flooding.

Over the past few weeks, heavy rainfall, coupled with the rising water level of the Rio Brancho and Negro rivers in the Amazon of neighbouring Brazil, has resulted in severe flooding in Region Nine.

Farmers, particularly cassava farmers, have been counting their losses as the inundated farmlands have led to the destruction of their produce. Some residents were forced to evacuate too, since the floodwaters had breached their homes.

While the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) began providing hampers and cleaning supplies to provide some sort of relief to the affected residents, a Ministerial team, led by the Prime Minister, visited the region at the weekend to hear from the concerned residents directly and advance relief efforts.

A aerial view of the flooding in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) (Photo: DPI/ May 23, 2021)

“The fact is the water is receding, however, we have to continue to monitor those areas, especially during the remainder of the rainy season because if the water continues to rise in the two big rivers in Brazil- the Rio Brancho and the Rio Negro – it is just a matter of time before these areas are underwater again,” Prime Minister Phillips explained.

Cognisant of the threat of continued flooding as the rainy season persists, the Prime Minister emphasised that there will be constant monitoring done through the CDC and that the government will continue to offer its support.

During the visit, it was noted that the farmers have been particularly hard-hit and as such, he highlighted that the Ministry of Agriculture will be addressing their woes.

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips (second from left), Regional Chairman of Region Nine, Brian Allicock (right) and other officials assessing the flooding situation in Region Nine over the weekend (Photo: DPI/ May 23, 2021)

In the meanwhile, the Prime Minister said that the focus will be on meeting the immediate needs of people by providing food, sanitisation and cleaning supplies.

“I think that is what people expect in a time of disaster, that the government, whether it’s the central government or regional government, can quickly offer whatever relief efforts to help them to deal with the difficult situation that they are in now,” the Prime Minister said also.

Meanwhile, Regional Chairman of Region Nine, Brian Allicock, highlighted that the region has also seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Director-General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, who has been in the region conducting an assessment of the situation and working alongside the regional authorities to provide support to the affected residents, noted that some health concerns have also emerged.

He said in one village, Sand Creek, there were quite a few cases of rashes and diarrhea among children. In other communities, he said that there has been a great need to provide clean, drinking water.

Water purification tablets, hampers and sanitation supplies are being distributed while the CDC and the regional authorities have managed to set up temporary shelters.

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