- Environmental health personnel offering guidance – CDC Head
Though the flood waters in sections of Lethem and surrounding areas have largely receded, the fifty-nine residents who were evacuated from their homes for safety reasons remain in shelters after nearly two weeks.
This was confirmed by both Regional Vice-Chairman of Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) Karl Singh and acting head of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) Kester Craig who related to Guyana Times on Sunday that the affected areas are being monitored.
While it is not clear when the various households will be able to return to their places of abode, Vice-Chairman Singh stated that the residents are being allowed to clean their surroundings.
“Persons are in the shelter as of today [Sunday]; we are still monitoring the situation. We have cleaning agents including jeyes fluid to give to the affected people to clean their homes and disinfect the surrounding areas before they can go back home,” Singh told Guyana Times.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig told this publication that as the water around Lethem has been receding, there have been no reports of outbreak of diseases.
“There are no outbreaks; what we try to do is use preventative measures such as bleach in water and water purification tablets…we monitor the situation continuously and we are in contact with the regional administration under the regional disaster risk management system,” Craig pointed out.
He also informed that the Public Health Ministry has a team handling the affected areas with community outreaches with its environmental health personnel which has been providing guidance on the necessary measures persons can take to prevent diseases.
Meanwhile, additional flooding remains a cause for worry since the water level could rise again with another heavy downpour. The affected areas included Deep South Rupununi communities such as Karasabai which was cut off from Central Lethem. Regional Chairman Brian Allicock noted earlier this month that a group of toshaos had travelled into the area via boat, using a different route.
It was reported several days ago that the Deep South Rupununi’s main access road en-route to Aishalton was partly washed away.
Food security is another concern that was recorded since the floods in the Deep South had also destroyed farms. Regional Chairman Allicock noted in early July that some 20 farms were inundated with over three feet of water.
The flooding resulted from several rivers, particularly the Takutu River, over topping because of heavy rainfall in the region and over in neighbouring Brazil, which had resulted in over topping of the Rio Brancho River. The CDC had delivered supplies which included water purification tablets, collapsible bottles, detergents and cleaning supplies, beddings and blankets, among other materials.