CDC to ask EU for flood mapping assistance, drainage pumps

- as efforts being made to intensify relief efforts in farming communities


By Vishani Ragobeer

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) will be asking the European Union (EU) for assistance in flood mapping to understand the impact of the countrywide floods, as well as pumps for drainage works, according to the Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig.

While providing an update on the relief efforts for the ongoing nationwide flooding at the sidelines of an event on Sunday, the Director-General highlighted that the priority needs are drainage pumps to help get water off the land, especially in those farming communities in Regions Two, Five and Six.

“… because of the level of water there, if we continue to have more rainfall, we would have more long term and greater disruption on the crops and livestock in those regions,” he related.

The Director-General later explained that even with ongoing rainfall, emphasis will be placed on drainage. To this end, he acknowledged that in Regions Five and Six, a number of pumps have been deployed.

An aerial view of the flooded area over Big Baiboo, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) (Photo: Yusuf Ali/June 8, 2021)

Overall, he reminded members of the media that about 29,000 houses are affected across Guyana. Already, President Irfaan Ali officially declared a disaster in Guyana due to flooding. The President’s proclamation was recorded in the Official Gazette on Thursday last.

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

“(The proclamation) gives the Commission a little bit more authority to work with other agencies and it also gives the commission and the government to seek international and region support,” the CDC Head said on Sunday.

As part of efforts to provide some immediate relief to affected residents, the Lieutenant Colonel also said that some 40,000 hampers, including food and cleaning supplies, have already been distributed. Additionally, the regional authorities have been mobilising efforts to aid with the drainage of the land.

Still, he related that additional assistance is needed and some of that assistance is being sought from the EU, under its Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) which aims to improve prevention, preparedness, and response to disasters when an emergency overwhelms local response capabilities of the affected country.

Recently, the country was invited to seek flood support through this mechanism.

Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant-Colonel Kester Craig (Photo: News Room/June 2, 2021)

“We’ve already completed the two applications (to the EU CPM), one application to provide real-time flooding mapping and GIS support, that would be able to give us a better understanding of the impact across the country and another application to provide priority support, so we identified pumps and other equipment that is necessary for response,” the Lieutenant Colonel said.

He related too that once approval for these applications is given, those applications will be sent. It is expected that these applications will be sent on Monday.

While he could not state how long it will take before the requested support is provided to Guyana, the Director-General explained that the CPM is a response mechanism that should ‘kick in’ as soon as possible because of the urgency of the situation.

Aside from the EU CPM, he also related that Guyana has sent its needs list to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which will be coordinating relief support from Caribbean countries.

“What CDEMA has already committed to doing, and we have already completed the application and documentation, is to send a team to complete a detailed assessment so that people understand what is happening in this period and what other direct support would be needed,” he related as well.

This help, he said, can be expected soon.

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