Guyana braces for tropical waves, continuous rainfall as Regions 7 & 8 to experience mudslides

0
CDC Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig

The month-long battle with severe flooding continues to persist, and the population has been asked to remain on alert, as above normal rainfall is predicted to continue, coupled with a series of tropical waves.

The Civil Defence Commission’s Director General, Lieutenant-Colonel Kester Craig on Friday stated that Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are the most impacted regions, and still on Level Three alert.

A breach on Thursday evening at Coomaka, Region 10, also saw waters rising. In Region Seven, the Mazaruni area continues to face inundation while the situation in Bartica has de-escalated.

“In Region Eight, mudslides are occurring as water continues to come down the mountains. Residents and farmlands are affected with some bridges being washed away by floodwaters. In Region Nine, water level increased over the last 24 hours in the township of Lethem, while farms and other parts of the region remain flooded,” Craig pointed out during a press conference.

Several locations are now inundated around Tabatinga and Lethem in Region 9 due to heavy rainfall (PHOTO: Regional Administration- Region 9 FB)

He noted that high priority is on offering support to residents who have been displaced as a result of water covering their homes, those who cannot access drinking water and those without food supplies.

“Preliminary damage assessments across the varying regions indicate that damages are concentrated in the agriculture, transportation, housing and mining sectors. The flood also affected rural water and sanitation, posing health hazards to residents.”

Since the reports of flooding started, over 36,000 persons have been displaced while 216 are currently in shelters. The CDC said to date, it has received over $100 million in cash and relief supplies from numerous entities in response to the countrywide flooding which was on June 9 declared a national disaster by President Dr Irfaan Ali. Local collaboration is expected to continue to reach affected persons.

“The situation within the country is classified as Level Two event, which means that the national capacity to respond is not overwhelmed but external assistance is required through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), regional response mechanism and regional international partners to augment efforts to effectively protect lives, livelihoods and the environment within these localities and the country at large,” the Director-General shared.

A national action plan has been drafted and guides all response across the country. This is backed by the National Emergency Operation Centre. Technical support has also been continuous for the Regional Democratic Councils and other counterparts.

“We continue to dispatch relief supplies for the flood-affected communities. We continue to man the support shelters in regions where they are activated. We continue to engage CDEMA on regional and other international stakeholders,” Craig noted.

Chief Hydromet Officer Dr Garvin Cummings

When it comes to the current weather pattern, Chief Hydromet Officer, Dr Garvin Cummings pointed out that the above normal rainfall is expected to continue. Over the weekend, the Saharan Dust will somewhat suppress rainfall but tropical waves will impact some regions.

“We’re anticipating again that given the trends we’re seeing, that we’ll have excessive rainfall in line with the forecast for the rest of this month, July and perhaps into the first two weeks of August as well. In terms of the short-range forecast, what we have been seeing over this season is that every four to five days, Guyana is being affected by a tropical wave. We got a series of tropical waves coming across the Atlantic into Guyana’s territory and that is influencing our weather.”

Dr Cummings added, “We still continue to see cloudy and overcast conditions that is the influence of the Saharan air layer. Over the weekend, in the context of things we expect that there will be a reduction of rainfall…Monday and Tuesday, we expect another tropical wave will appear and impact Guyana.”

He noted too that if the weather is in keeping with predictions, then Regions One and Two will be affected by the tropical waves.

Meanwhile, officials from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Regional Security System (RSS) and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) arrived in Guyana on Thursday ahead of the commencement of works for the “Detailed Damage Sector Assessment” on the flood situation. (This article was first published in the Guyana Times)