Guyana’s Honorary Consul to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Mr. Nigel Russell has said there have been no “adverse calls” over the distribution of relief items to Guyanese affected by La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island.
Mr. Russell on Friday joined Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Robert Persaud for a virtual briefing, during which he provided an update on the relief efforts to the Guyanese community there, according to a DPI report.
Guyana made its first delivery of 350 tonnes of emergency supplies to the island last week, following the initial volcanic eruption on April 9. The second shipment, of water, set sail soon after while the third, with 275 tonnes of supplies, left Guyana on April 20. It is expected in the country on Saturday.
The Honorary Consul said his office is working with the Guyanese Association to help distribute the supplies.
“On the ground, no Guyanese are in shelters as far as I know today. All the Guyanese, even from the red and orange zones are in homes, which is ideal. The majority of persons are in private homes. There have been no adverse calls about the distribution process. My role is very simple. I do the coordination. Things that come to my office, we document and we deliver to the Guyanese Association. This has just begun and we have months down the road for this,” he said.
He added that the SVG Government’s policy is that all displaced persons must be given support. The Honorary Consul’s office, through the Guyanese Association, has employed the same strategy.
Mr. Russell said his office had been preparing Guyanese for the volcano since last year. He said he has on record some 237 Guyanese on the island, but noted that the number is much higher.
“We have begun this engagement with Guyanese since December because we suspected that this was going to happen. We did television programmes, sent out press releases, but particularly persons who are living in the red and orange zones were our major concern because they would have had to be evacuated.
We were building this list a long time. Many were not forthcoming in giving us information, where they live not until a few days ago that relief was coming, that the list started to grow, that people wanted to put their names down. The idea behind this was not just for relief, but knowing where our Guyanese are so in events like this, they could have been found easily.”
President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has said the Government will provide continuous support to the Government and People of St Vincent and the Grenadines who remain affected by the volcano.
More than 20,000 persons have been displaced by the eruption, with some 6,000 currently in public shelters.