President Ali formally declares flooding a national disaster

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President Irfaan Ali has officially declared a disaster in Guyana due to flooding. The President’s proclamation was recorded in the Official Gazette on Thursday.

The proclamation notes that as of June 7, 2021, a total of 28,228 households were affected by flooding, some with water entering their homes, domestic animals, and livestock in distress or farmlands inundated.

“In pursuance of the powers conferred upon me by Article 99 of the Constitution of Co-operative Republic of Guyana, I do hereby declare a disaster in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” the president’s proclamation reads.

Under Article 99 of the Constitution of Guyana, the Head of State is responsible for disaster management and is authorised to declare a disaster for the State if the President is satisfied that a disaster has happened, happening or is likely to happen in the State.

Earlier this week on the Corentyne Coast, President Ali said the Civil Defence Commission had advised that the flood situation across the country is now a Level Two Disaster.

One of the mining camps completely flooded in Region Eight (Photo: CDC)

According to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) Regional Response Mechanism, a Level 2 Event is one in which the national capacity to respond is not overwhelmed, but some external assistance is required. The affected State may or may not declare a disaster.

In this scenario, the CDEMA Coordinating Unit may provide technical assistance, specialised equipment, support personnel and information sharing. President Ali had also indicated that the Government could now lobby for international support.  In comparison, a Level Three Event overwhelms the capacity of an affected State to respond.

Government will be approaching the National Assembly on Monday seeking a $10 billion supplementary budget to aid its ongoing flood-relief efforts. This supplementary financing will be used to repair infrastructure, specifically roads and bridges that have been damaged by the nationwide flooding. Support will also be given to farmers, miners and families whose livelihoods were destroyed by the natural disaster. (DPI)

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