Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, has said that the Government will be providing extended assistance to farmers of Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine), who continue to lose their crops as a result of flooding during the May/June rainy season.
“We see ourselves working with the communities for an extended period … the Ministry of Agriculture will be putting together a package to help those communities get back on their feet as soon as the rainy season ends. The issue of relocation of farmlands and assisting through agricultural extension programmes to get the communities back into their normal agricultural activities will be addressed.”
The Prime Minister noted that the Government at this point is addressing immediate concerns, which is to bring relief to flood-affected residents by supporting them with food and sanitation supplies.
He commended the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Regional Administration for their swift response, while indicating that the Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.
“We will continue to monitor through the CDC and continue to offer all our support to the affected communities. I’m satisfied with the work done so far and I’m happy that our agencies, both at the Regional level and at the Central Government level, particularly the Civil Defence Commission, were able to quickly respond and offer the required and expected emergency support to the communities that were impacted by the flood”.
The Prime Minister, who led a delegation of senior Government officials to the region on Saturday, flew over several communities to assess the damage himself. He also visited Gunns Strip and Sand Creek, where he distributed relief supplies and interacted with the residents.
The delegation included Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Honourable Pauline Sukhai; Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Honourable Deodat Indar; Member of Parliament and Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr Bheri Ramsaran and Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Madanlall Ramraj.
In Lethem, the team was divided to cover as many areas as possible. Minister Indar visited several communities in and around Lethem, while Minister Sukhai reached as far as Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight).
Director-General of the CDC Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig and Regional Chairman Bryan Allicock were already on location when the high-level team arrived.
Mr Allicock, who accompanied the Prime Minister, said he was pleased with the Government’s response to the disaster.
“This is the time we have to reach out to our people and we are seeing that our Ministers are out in the different distressed areas, so we are thankful for that and the intervention by the CDC, they are spearheading the response and we are pleased with what we see”.
Lieutenant Colonel Craig said in addition to 2000 food hampers, the Commission is also in possession of 1000 sanitation hampers for distribution.
He added that the CDC has also set up two temporary shelters for males and females. The shelters are in addition to those already set up by the Regional Administration. (Department of Public Information)