There are reports that the water level has risen over the past few days in Region 8 (Potaro/Siparuni) communities that have already been inundated by heavy rainfall and flash flooding of recent.
The communities most-affected include Kaibarupai, Sand Hill, Chenapau and Waipa. The water is 15 feet high in some places, and approximately 10 houses have been washed away and more than 20 have been under water in Waipa up to press time. The health centre has also been under approximately four feet of water, and many farms have been completely destroyed. Residents are thus appealing for food and shelter.
Kaibarupai is reportedly hardest hit, the flash-flooding having caused landslides which have lent to the overtopping of the Ireng River that has swept away residents’ belongings.
Efforts to bring relief to those communities are continuing, according to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon. He disclosed on Thursday that, based on an initial assessment of the situation, more than 1000 residents have been affected by the flood waters.
He said the disaster preparedness team at the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has been activated, and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is also assisting with relief efforts.
“We will do a proper assessment as to what the true situation is… They (CDC) have already started taking steps to get relief to those persons who are there,” he explained.
Harmon said it is important to note also that some of these communities are located in valleys; and therefore, when it rains heavily, the villages would be flooded.
Claiming there is not much that could be done at this time, Harmon said residents would most likely be unable to get additional relief until the water recedes.
He said President David Granger has also been provided with an update of the situation, and has since instructed the relevant agencies to take every action to assist residents.
However, Amerindian Peoples’ Association (APA) executive Laura George has expressed displeasure with the work being carried out by the CDC. George said, “We are concerned that the response is extremely slow, even as we recognise the need for an assessment which the CDC says it first needs to conduct.”
The APA has also denounced what has been described as “a disrespectful response” from head of the CDC, Colonel Chabilall Ramsarup, who has allegedly been quoted as saying: “No one will die in one day.” The APA has described his comments as “disrespectful,” and has called on the CDC to act professionally and efficiently.