The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on Wednesday engaged Executives of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), to discuss getting relief to flood affected miners.
The meeting was the first in a series of discussions to be held between the CDC and stakeholders in the mining sector, including the Guyana Women’s Miners Association (GWMA) and the National Mining Syndicate (NMS).
Those representing the CDC at the meeting were CDC’s Director General, Colonel Kester Craig; Deputy Director General, Major Loring Benons, Preparedness and Response Manager, Major Salim October, while the GGMC was represented by Chairman, Mr. Jimmy Reece, Managing Director, Mr. Krishna Ramdas, Commissioner, Mr. Newell Denisson, and Chief Mines Officer, Mr. Bheemraj Ramkellan and the GGDMA was represented by Technical Services Manager, Mr. Vasquez Ramdeen.
During the meeting, the CDC team pointed out that it is ready to provide aid to affected miners, but would require the assistance of the GGMC in determining where the miners are located, how many miners are at each location, and the identification of central locations from which the aid could be distributed.
“The intent is to see how best we can work together to provide relief as far as is possible…. when it comes to the mining sector, we don’t have information so we don’t know how to provide support if we don’t know where they are. So, we need logistics,” Colonel Craig explained during the meeting.
The GGMC has agreed to provide the CDC with the details requested.
The Director General noted that a team from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will soon arrive in Guyana to conduct a detailed damage assessment of the impact of the flood in the various sectors in Guyana.
The Director General also emphazised the need for miners and residents in affected regions to be informed about the projection for continuous rainfall in an effort to take the necessary precautions to safeguard life and property during the disaster.
It was noted that additional aid will be sent to affected miners in the form of food supplies, hygiene and cleaning products, mosquito nets and medical supplies.
CDC’s Preparedness and Response Manager suggested a joint operation between stakeholders in the mining sector and the Ministry of Health’s team that is currently distributing medical supplies for the distribution of relief supplies.
“You know logistics of back dams, so your resources augmented with the Ministry of Health resources would facilitate greater access, ” Major October said
Mr. Ramdas committed that the GGMDA will use its communication platforms to contact as many miners as possible. It was agreed that the GWMA and NMS will also be contacted to do the same in reaching out to as many miners as possible.
GGMC’s Chairman emphasized the need for better sensitization among miners in flood affected communities, pointing to the severe impact on lives and operation.
The meeting with the GGMC, followed an earlier meeting where the multi-stakeholder National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) was formally declared operationalized. Lead by the CDC, the NEOC will coordinate the national response to the flooding situation across all of the various sectors.