The Guyana Government has expended almost $8M from the national coffers so far to support the flood relief efforts ongoing in Regions Seven and Eight which were hit by flash floods this past week when intense rains caused the Potaro and nearby rivers to overtop their banks, displacing or affecting in excess of 3,200 persons.
Deputy Director of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Major Kester Craig, today (May 23, 2017) provided an update on the inter-agency relief efforts—even as waters have begun to recede in some areas.
Major Craig met with members of the media at the CDC Headquarters, Thomas Lands Georgetown and said so far $2.8M has been spent on the flights alone into the affected areas.
Providing an update on the impact of the flood by Region, Major Craig observed that in the Potaro/Siparuni locale, “Farmlands and homes in villages of Kaibarupai, Waipa, Chenapau, Itabac, Kanapang, Kopinang and Sand Hill Settlement flooded.”
According to Craig, the flood waters reached as high as 25 feet in some areas.
He reported too that in addition to inundated homes, several acres of farmlands have also been threatened—some under water.
One of the hardest hit villages, according to Craig, is Kaibarupai; 113 residents were flooded 26 of whom had their homes completely washed away.
According to Major Craig, “Residents of Kaibarupai were forced to evacuate uphill and construct temporary shelters.” Chuing Mouth, Kanapang, Itabac, Kopinang, Sand Hill Settlement and Chenapau were among some of the hardest hit areas in Region eight, according to Major Craig.
The CDC Assistant Director reported that several State owned infrastructure also suffered intense damage and pointed to the health post at Kaibarupai which was flooded.
He said the school at Itabac has since shifted and has become unstable.
Major Craig reported too that parts of road from Itabac to Kanapang were damaged and is impassable by vehicles and an engineering team from the Guyana Defence Force has since been flown into the area to conduct assessments with a view to effecting emergency repairs.
In Region Seven, Major Craig said the full impact of the flooding is still being assessed.
He reported however that, villages of Kako, Kamarang (Warawatta), Jawalla, Waramadong, Imbaimadai, Philippai, Amokokopi, Quebenang and Paruima were all flooded.
He said all of the farms in Kako have been flooded, some by as much as 15 feet while in Quebenan 80 farms have been affected.
According to Major Craig, crops in the farms have already started to wilt as the soil is still water logged. While there has been no outbreak of water borne diseases, the CDC Assistant Director did point to a reported increase in mosquitoes in Kako.
Expanding on the relief efforts, Major Craig reported that 327 relief food hampers were distributed in Chenapau, Kaibarupai, Waipa, Sand Hill, Itabac, Kanapang.
Other official agencies involved in the relief efforts according to Major Craig, include; the Ministries of Health and Indigenous Affairs, the Guyana Water Incorporated, the Guyana Defence Force and the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) among others.