Opposition Leader urges evacuation of Guyanese living in hurricane hit areas

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-As Govt expresses intention to move in the same direction

View of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Sint Maarten, Dutch part of Saint Martin island in the Caribbean September 6, 2017. Picture taken September 6, 2017. Netherlands Ministry of Defence/Handout via REUTERS

Opposition Leader Dr Bharat Jagdeo is calling on the Government of Guyana to assist with the evacuation of Guyanese, if they so desire, who are living in the Caribbean islands that were devastated by hurricane Irma.

According to the Opposition Leader the Government should initiate immediate steps to “provide assistance to our Caribbean brothers and sisters and to assist with the evacuation of Guyanese living on the affected islands, who are so desirous of evacuating. The extent of damages is insurmountable with lives lost, buildings flattened and thousands of people without access to water, food and proper shelter.”

Jagdeo who had urged the Government of Guyana to render as much assistance that it could to alleviate the plight of those affected, said that Hurricane Irma has practicably reduced some of these islands to ground zero. “It is, therefore, incumbent upon the Government of Guyana to take immediate action.”

So far, at least one Guyanese has been confirmed among the approximately 28 dead as a result of Hurricane Irma – the most powerful storm to make landfall in the Caribbean.

Another of the Caribbean territories that has been severely impacted, and the Diaspora there as well, is the isle of St Martin where hundreds of Guyanese have been displaced as a result of the widespread destruction of homes and infrastructure. In excess of 3500 Guyanese reportedly reside on the island.

Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge has been quoted in local media reports indicating that Government was exploring the possibility of evacuating citizens from hard-hit areas such as St Martin.

In a release on Monday, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who is heading a Ministerial Task Force that will be responsible for oversight of the efforts of the Civil Defence Commission’s (CDC) National Risk Reduction Platform, said “we are concerned about our Nationals in these Caribbean territories ravaged by Hurricane Irma and the possible harm that will be caused by Hurricane Jose and we want to reach out to them… The Task Force, first and foremost, will try to access information about the number of Guyanese affected and the places where they are affected and to make general appeals to Guyanese in the Caribbean to get in touch with the Consulates in those areas or in other parts, where they can access Consulate services. We need the information as to Guyanese who may want to be evacuated or who may want assistance in this point in time of a specific nature.”

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