Days after his government announced a comprehensive relief package to flood affected Guyanese, President Dr Irfaan Ali said disbursement will commence this week and run until every affected person receives assistance.
“Saturday, I made this announcement. The machinery is already in place. As you’re aware, there was a very comprehensive field exercise across the country that recorded those who are affected. So, the database is there with the CDC, the Ministry of Agriculture other sectors, the authorities on the ground and that help will be rolled out in the coming week and beyond,” the President said.
President Ali made the statement earlier this morning at a press conference to commemorate his Government’s first year in office.
Since taking office, the Ali Administration have been faced with a number of challenges along with batting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the heavier than normal rainfall that resulted in the flooding is a clear sign of the disastrous effects of climate change.
“All of this has threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of 1000s of our people and placed an enormous strain on our economy. We did not create these challenges, but we confronted them. We did all this while reengineering broken systems and introduce new innovative approaches. This is a style and manner, not to wring our hands in lamentation, not to be paralyzed in an action, or the tackle problems vigorously by finding the best solutions, and implementing them strictly and comprehensively,” President Ali related.
Between May and June this year, heavy rains resulted in widespread flooding across the country, affecting thousands of households. The devastation includes submerged buildings and vehicles with adverse effects on crops, livestock and health.
It has been noted that the rainfall experienced in May alone was recorded as the second highest level of rainfall across the country in the last 40 years. All 10 administrative regions in Guyana experienced varied levels of flooding, prompting Government to roll out immediate responses such as evacuation of those most at risk and flood assistance.
On Saturday, following intense fieldwork, the President said 52,000 households were affected by the torrential rains and flooding that beset Guyana earlier this year and announced several billion dollars in relief assistance for citizens and farmers who were affected in all 10 Administration Regions.
Approximately 52,000 households were affected in categories of homestead farmers, kitchen gardens, and households exclusive of farms/gardens. In these categories, the Head of State noted, farmers within the context of a homestead would receive $100,000 each, those with kitchen gardens will receive $50,000 each and households excluding homestead and kitchen garden will receive 50,000 each.
The President explained that the combined assistance to homestead farmers, kitchen gardens and households for these categories will be in excess of $3.5 billion. He acknowledged that whilst some large-scale farmers were severely affected, especially in the rice and poultry sectors, the ceiling of assistance will not exceed $10 million for individual farmers.
With regards to the rice sector, where 50,000 acres of farmlands and 2000 farmers were directly affected, Ali announced that farmers with harvest ready rice that were destroyed will receive $80,000 per acre and rice sowed and lost in the autumn crop, these farmers will receive $65,000 per acre. For land that was completely prepared but was not sowed, $45,000 per acre would be given to these farmers. In addition, to this support, 60,000 bags of seed paddy would be made available. The combined assistance in these four categories would be in excess of $3.2 billion.