More than 50 persons remain displaced as flooding continues to affect parts of the Rupununi in Region Nine.
One resident who spoke with Sunday Stabroek explained that they continue to experience rains almost daily, however, while the water levels in Lethem have dropped to a “crossable” level, the outlying areas continue to be affected by high levels of water.
Regional Chairman Bryan Allicock, who spoke with the Sunday Stabroek, explained that those from the Lethem, Culvert City and Tabatinga areas, who were relocated from their homes more than two weeks ago, continue to be accommodated at designated shelters.
Additionally, he said the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has embarked on the distribution of disinfectants for residents who are desirous of sanitizing their homes. Further, the Regional Chairman said access to areas such as Karasabai remains cut off, forcing some residents to utilize a route that takes them to Bom Fin, the town that borders Guyana and Brazil, from where they are able to access Lethem and its environs. He noted, too, that in the North Rupununi, the main road to Massara Village has been washed away as a result of the elevated water levels.
Notwithstanding this, Allicock told the Sunday Stabroek that the RDC on Thursday awarded a contract for the construction of three culverts along the road which leads to Aishalton. He noted, however, that while there is more work to be done, the RDC is not financially capable of commissioning these works.
Additionally, the Regional Chairman explained that some contractors are now challenged by the deplorable state of the Linden/Lethem Road and are losing financially as a result of damage to materials incurred during travels along said road.
Back in June, this newspaper had reported on flooding in the region caused by heavy rainfall and the overflowing of rivers, which had led to communities in the South Pakaraimas and the Deep South Rupununi being cut off.
Subsequent to this occurrence, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) conducted a damage risk assessment, primarily around Karasabai, the South Pakaraimas, and Aishalton, South Rupununi, with the aim of identifying the vulnerabilities and types of hazards to the communities, and found that with water levels of the Ireng and Takutu rivers high, many communities remained threatened. Additional reports would have noted that water levels rose once again; two weeks later, after a night of heavy rainfall. As a result, shelters were opened at the Culvert City Primary School, Tabatinga Community Centre Ground and the Amerindian Hostel in Lethem, to accommodate those affected.
This was followed by a visit to the Region by Junior Public Infrastructure Minister Annette Ferguson, during which time an assessment of the situation was done. Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who has the responsibility for the CDC, had also flown in one day later to get a firsthand look at the situation and had expressed satisfaction with how the situation was being handled by the regional administration, saying there had been an improvement in the response compared to two years ago when similar flooding had occurred.
Relief supplies from the CDC, which include water purification tablets, collapsible bottles, detergents and cleaning supplies, beddings and blankets, among other materials, were also sent to Lethem for those affected by the flood.