Guyana will be dispatching some 300 tonnes of emergency supplies, as its first response shipment to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, following the eruption of La Soufrière volcano on Friday.
The items were last evening loaded onto a vessel docked at the Muneshwers Wharf, and will depart Guyana’s shores on Tuesday. The vessel should reach its destination by Friday.
The swift action by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC), to ensure the shipment leaves Guyana, is in keeping with President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s instructions to render assistance to the sister CARICOM nation as soon as possible.
The shipment includes sugar and rice, and based on guidance from St. Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organisation, also a quantity of personal protective equipment and other items.
During NCN’s ‘Guyana’s aid to St Vincent and the Grenadines’ live programme on Monday, CDC’s Director-General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said Guyana would be providing assistance in phases.
“The response phase is primarily to bring things back to normalcy, ensure lives are saved. Food, shelter and medical supplies are the things needed immediately. Right now, all effort is on the response phase,” he said.
Organisations or businesses interested in making donations, can contact the CDC at 226-1114, or make deliveries at its Thomas Lands headquarters.
DG Craig explained that a copy of the list of requests can also be sought to ensure the donations meet the needs of the people there. That list has been posted to the CDC’s Facebook page.
To date, there has been no reports locally of effects from the eruptions. Additionally, a team was established to monitor the direction the ash plumes are travelling, while consultation continues between the CDC and the Seismic Research Centre and the hydrometeorological office for regular updates.
The DG said the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority also has to monitor the conditions to ensure the safety of flights travelling in and out of Guyana.
Meanwhile, PSC Chairman, Mr. Nicholas Boyer said once the body was notified of the plans to provide aid to St. Vincent, donations were solicited through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
“The CDC was fielded a list of needs and they shared that list of needs with us and we started soliciting donations against that list. Then once we started to look at logistics being put in place, we have one ship being loaded with 300 tonnes and towards the end of this week, we are going to have a second ship also with the capacity of 300 tonnes,” he said.
Mr. Boyer added that it is possible to activate an arrangement that CDEMA has with several shipping lines in the Caribbean to dispatch containerised cargo. He commended the business owners who donated willingly, despite the impact of COVID-19 on their establishments.
Currently, there are 88 shelters established in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, housing over 3000 displaced residents.
President Ali has said the support to the affected country will be continuous.