All hands on deck un Guyana

THE National Taskforce on Flooding has dispatched and mobilised teams to address flooding in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) due to the torrential rainfall.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, on Monday, told this publication that the National Taskforce on Flooding met on Sunday evening to begin assessment as rising floodwaters affect some parts of the country.

“Last night, we had a meeting, the committee that was set up by the President and headed by the Prime Minister, where we were assessing the situation around the country, especially in Region Nine and parts of Region Eight [Potaro Siparuni],” Mustapha said.

As it relates to Region Five, he said the ministry is closely monitoring the sluices in the region.

He noted that heavy machinery had been dispatched to the flood-affected communities to ensure the clearing of canals.

“As it relates to Region Five, we have our systems in place there, the rain fell exceedingly heavy. Within 24 hours, we had four inches of rainfall; it’s falling again today, and we have machines clearing canals; we have the sluices working. We have also asked the RDC [Regional Democratic Council] to organise some pumps,” Mustapha said.

With up to 150mm rainfall expected in Regions One to Six, the Minister noted that the task force is on high alert.

“We are monitoring the situation in the country because now is the May/June rainfall, and the forecast is showing that we will continue to have rainfall; we may have a day’s break but rain will continue,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Region Nine, evacuations are underway in the Township of Lethem, and nearby villages as floodwaters continue to rise due to the heavy rainfall and over-topping of the Rio Branco rivers in Brazil and the Takutu river.

Region Nine Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock, disclosed that 12 families consisting of 31 persons were placed in shelters.

Further, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has activated its Regional Disaster Risk Management Centre (RDRMC) to serve as a secondary shelter to accommodate displaced persons.

According to the CDC, it is also working with Regional and Municipal authorities to deliver water purification tablets, water containers, cleaning hampers, and other essential supplies. The CDC will also deploy two small-engine boats to aid the RDC.

Volunteers from the CDC Volunteer Corps and an experienced shelter manager are assisting the Town Council in coordinating the relief effort.

The RDC also warned motorists and commuters to use the back road at the top end of the airstrip because the road from the airstrip to the roundabout and the Lethem Radio station is submerged.

Residents are asked to be on high alert as some bridges in South Rupununi are also inaccessible. Residents are advised to take all the necessary precautions and report any impact resulting from floods.

The Hydrometeorological Service forecasts significant and consistent rainfall countrywide for the next 24 hours and, as such, the Commission, along with relevant agencies, is monitoring all Administrative Regions.

“Rainfall will measure at least two inches (60mm) in Southern Guyana and one inch (30mm) in the North. Residents of low lying, flooded and flood-prone areas are urged to be vigilant and to take precautions where necessary,” the Hydromet noted.

The National Emergency Monitoring System (NEMS) can be contacted 24 hours a day on 600-7500 or 226-1114.

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