Response to the Guyana Flood Situation
The General Secretary,
People’s National Congress Reform
All Party Overseas Groups
The PNCR’s Response to the Guyana Flood Situation
February 9, 2005
the attention of the Guyanese has been rightly focused on the threat
of water borne diseases, a more serious problem, resulting from the
heavy rainfall and flooding seems to be in prospect. But before
proceeding to treat this issue in any detail, it may be appropriate
to say a few words about the health situation.
number of people who have died from the water borne disease, Leptospirosis,
has risen to twenty four (24). And now there appears to
be a threat of new diseases. The Party has received reports that
Dengue Fever and Typhoid might yet rear their ugly heads.
And the Head of the Caribbean Epidemiological Centre (CAREC),
Dr. James Hospedales, has warned that there could be an outbreak
of Hepatitis A. He said the threat to manifest itself in
a matter of weeks as the disease has an incubation period of
about five (5) week.
the meantime, the Party’s representative on the health team, Dr.
Dalgleish Joseph MD, MP, has reported that fatigue has set
in among members of this group and this affected the ability to
visit different parts of the country. On Saturday, February 5
and Sunday, February 6, last, the health team consisted mostly
of Cuban Doctors and only a few local ones. The health teams
visited the East Coast of Demerara. On the former date, over one
thousand (1,000) were attended to by a medical team. A shortage
of health personnel prevented some areas from being visited.
Joseph also reported that there were concerns about conflicting
reports from the President and the Minister of Health as
regards the number of people affected by water borne diseases.
The Party’s programme, Nation Watch, on HBTV Channel 9, over
the last weekend dealt with the precautions that need to be
taken against water borne diseases.
East Demerara Water Conservancy
return to the issue which is gradually assuming crisis
proportions. A preliminary report of two Dutch Engineers, who
have been detained by the Guyana Government to review drainage
and irrigation structures have described the East Demerara Water
Conservancy (EDWC) to be in critical condition and recommended
that substantial emergency work must be done immediately. The
Engineers are Olaf Dunin and Nisa Nurmohamed.
to the report, the EDWC is a fragile construction which was
built on peat and place soil layers. About 30% of the eastern
section of the northern dam is in critical condition and about
10% of the rest of the northern and western dam is in a poor
state. Long stretches of the EDWC are covered with trees and
vegetation, which are forming seepage points. The
dam is currently at a level of 58.4 GD and if water rises to the
level of 59 GD, the overtopping could get out of control. The
result would be numerous breaches and the release of around one
hundred billions gallons of water into the coastal zone. It
is in this context that the Engineers have informed the
Government that they cannot guarantee the integrity and safety
of the dam.
of the reasons why the dam is still in reasonable order is
because there has been some success in releasing water from the
conservancy into the Mahaica area. This has caused misery to the
people there, and prevented the conservancy from breaching into
the coastal zone. The
Engineers in a briefing to the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on
Monday, February 7, last, expressed their alarm that the
Government had no contingency plan for a breach in the dam or a
programme of evacuation for the residents of the coastal region.
view of the critical situation that the dam is in, the Engineers
made a number of important recommendations. These
upgrading emergency works on strengthening the dam using
contractors with floating equipment.
the speed of small boats in the conservancy as the waves eat
away the fragile top of the dam.
urgent need to inspect dysfunctional outlets and the
identification of customized solutions for each structure in
order to facilitate the discharge of water from the land,
while maintaining the ability for closure at high tide.
should be a disaster management plan before the May/ June
in the drainage functions of the outlet structures of the
conservancy dam and the seawalls.
the medium and long term, rehabilitation works must be
prioritized and speeded up in order to be prepared for future
the meantime, the Head of the National Drainage and Irrigation
Board, Mr. Ravi Narine, has stated that the report of the Dutch
Engineers is only a preliminary one and the Government will have
to decide on what course of action it would take.
the meantime, reports on the condition of the dam are beginning
to cause widespread concern.
of Party Leader to Lusignan and North Ruimveldt
Party Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin MP, continued his visits
to the communities on the East Coast of Demerara and other parts
of the city. So far Mr. Corbin has visited most of the
communities on the East Coast. This time around he visited the
Lusignan Pasture in the morning and North Ruimveldt in the
afternoon on Tuesday, February 8, 2005.
his visit to Lusignan, Mr. Corbin was able to note that
the community is still under 3 to 4 feet of flood water. He took
the opportunity to distribute bottled water to the residents.
After leaving Lusignan, Mr. Corbin attended the funeral
of 32 year old Forbes Jackman at the BV/ Triumph Mosque.
Mr. Jackman died of the now prevalent water borne disease,
his visit to North Ruimveldt, Mr. Corbin spoke to the
residents about their efforts to recover from the flood and how
they are managing with the aftermath of the situation. Most of
the residents explained that it was a difficult exercise and in
fact it had not been completed. The residents said that they
needed a play ground for the children and Mr. Corbin
suggested that they submit a list of materials required to build
the playground so that the Party could take a decision as how it
could render assistance.
in the evening of the same day, Mr. Corbin attended the wake
of 18 year old Brentnol Fowler of Festival City, whose death
reportedly occurred as a result of Leptospirosis. Mr. Corbin
sympathized with the family and offered the condolences of the
Party and that of his own family.
National Congress Reform