Several villages in Region Seven remain severely affected by flooding which swept down from the mountainous Region Eight on Wednesday and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) are spearheading two groups working around the clock to bring aid to those affected.
Last evening, the APA reported that floodwater was beginning to rise again in Kanapang, Region Eight following heavy rainfall which began yesterday at about 5 pm.
The APA and the CDC are asking the general public for more food, clothing, medical and hardware supplies to take into flood-affected villages in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni and Potaro-Siparuni regions. The flooding in both regions came after heavy rainfall in the highlands of Region Eight last week that saw the cresting of the Ireng River. The affected villages include Kaibaru-pai, Waipa, Chenapau, Sand Hill Settlement, Itabac and Kanapang in Region Eight, and Paruima, Kako, Jawalla, Phillipai, Kamarang and Duebamang in Region Seven.
Major Kester Craig, Deputy Chairman of the CDC told Stabroek News yesterday that he and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, representatives from the Guyana Water Incorporated, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs and the APA flew in by helicopter to visit the villages that were deeply affected by the flooding. He said that during the visit to Kanapang and Itabac, in Region 8, they observed that the water had receded. He said that “the communities are not under water like before”. He spoke to Stabroek News prior to the reports of more rain in Region Eight yesterday. Craig did confirm to Stabroek News that a road between Kanapang and Itabac has been washed away. This has made it difficult to take in supplies to those affected. Craig said that though the road is covered, the river could be used to access those areas.
A representative of the APA said that after a visit yesterday to Chenapau in Region Eight to take in supplies it was observed that the water there has also receded. The representative said that the weather has played a part since the village got a good dose of sunshine for most of the day. The representative told Stabroek News that water has receded by approximately six feet in that area, gradually running off into the Potaro River.
Though the villages in Region Eight are gradually recovering from the flooding, villages in Region Seven remain severely affected. The Deputy Chairman said that teams from the Region Seven Council and the CDC have been deployed to do an assessment and a report on those villages should be available today. Craig said that there are no official reports on the impact of the flood. He however said that a number of farms have been affected.
The CDC said that there were no casualties in any of the flood-affected areas. However, the Major said that that some persons in the area are exhibiting flu-like symptoms but it is nothing to be alarmed about. He said that the Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe along with a medical team are doing basic assessments.
Hampers are coming
According to Craig, hardware supplies are not being sought by the villagers just yet, since an assessment on how to repair and rebuild will be conducted shortly. He however said that the villagers are requesting clothing, treated mosquito nets and insect repellants. The Major said that today more supplies are expected to be flow into those areas.
An Administrative Officer at the CDC told Stabroek News that between Saturday and yesterday, the CDC has flown in over 300 donations to regions 7 and 8. The Officer said that the initial need was for food hampers for a family of 5 to 10 persons for one week. Now the request has grown from food supplies to farming supplies. Some farmers in the area have lost acres of produce on their farms.
Donations for those flood-affected villages are coming in from as far as Berbice, the administrative officer told Stabroek News. Additional supplies which are at the Fort Wellington Regional Office in West Berbice will be collected today by the CDC. Those supplies were said to be donated by farmers and other persons who wanted to help send relief to Regions 8 and 7.
Meanwhile, the APA is also asking for food, clothing and hardware supplies, such as nails and tarpaulin, to help make temporary shelters for the villagers. They are also asking for persons to visit their head offices in Charlotte Street, Bourda to help pack up the supplies.
The office of the CDC, has come under scrutiny following reports that its head, Chabilall Ramsarup has left the country on a business trip. Observers say that given the scale of the flooding in Regions Eight and Nine there could be no justification for him leaving the jurisdiction on a business trip.