The National Assembly, on Monday evening, approved $10 billion in supplementary funding which will bolster the Government’s ongoing flood relief efforts nationwide.
The supplementary financing was sought last Thursday, when Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh tabled two financial papers at the 28th Sitting of the Twelfth Parliament.
Prime Minister, Hon. Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips said the extra money is essential and will provide meaningful support to hundreds of communities, especially now that President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has declared the flooding a national disaster.
The Prime Minister, who has purview over the operations of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), said the agency has ramped up its efforts in conducting major damage and flood assessments.
It is against this backdrop, PM Phillips asserted that the funds requested will, in the first instance, help to restart the livelihoods of over 30,000 affected households.
“We have to do this right away so that people can get to their communities. There are roads that are damaged, households which are affected, there are animals that are affected, we have to feed everyone in over 180 communities in our hinterland.
“Because all their farms are affected by this flood and that will have to go on, who knows, for the next three months until the water subsides, and during the recovery phase, we can help them get back on their feet.”
The Prime Minister Phillips said the money will also be channelled towards emergency works to damaged infrastructure, which are listed on the agency’s priority list.
He said no financial support was given to any flooded households, noting that the CDC’s continuous evaluation will determine Government’s further intervention.
Further setting the record straight, Prime Minister Phillips said the CDC is fair in its distribution of food and cleaning hampers and does not help one particular group of Guyanese.
“The PPP/C Government of Guyana is committed to reaching every community, every individual affected by this flood and bring relief to them,” he said.
Relative to the situation at Kwakwani, the Prime Minister noted that the PPP/C Administration’s priority now is to relocate persons to a place of comfort and safety. When the water recedes, the Government will roll out its medium and long-term plans.
Accordingly, the CDC has engaged the European Union (EU) and Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and both have offered to assist Guyana.
The Suriname Government is also willing to provide support to cushion the disaster.
To date, some 21, 935 food hampers and 18,654 cleaning hampers have been distributed. Each food hamper is worth $10,000 and would last for two weeks.