PNCR’s Response to the Guyana Flood Situation

From:         The General Secretary, People’s National Congress Reform

To:              All Party Overseas Groups

Matter:       The PNCR’s Response to the Guyana Flood Situation  

Date:         February 14, 2005

Re:            Flood Update

 

This circular seeks to pull together the elements of reports received over the last week in relation to visits by the Leader of the Party to communities on the East Coast and Georgetown, and the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC), as well as the current medical situation and ongoing efforts of the Party to bring relief to particular villages and communities. 

(A) Party Leader visits Victoria Village & Sophia

Saturday, February 12 & Sunday, February 13, 2005 

1.     The Party Leader returned to two areas on the Coast to determine what occurred after the flood waters receded and how the residents were coping with the consequences.  On Saturday last, at Victoria, he was informed that the Government’s promise of five hundred (500) food hampers never materialized and had it not been for the intervention of a non-governmental organization and the PNCR, they would have faced severe hardship. 

2.     Briefing Party Officials, Mr. Corbin related that the village was still affected by flood waters, however, the residents were doing everything humanly possible to get rid of the waters and return to normal existence.  Mr. Corbin on visiting North Bladen Hall took the opportunity to distribute bottled water and made arrangements for hampers to be sent, as this community had the waters from other communities diverted there, causing severe flooding. 

3.     On Sunday, February 13, 2005, Mr. Corbin along with his wife, Mrs. Carol Corbin, Ms. Amna Ally MP and Mrs. Cyrilda De Jesus visited “A” Field, South Sophia in the morning and North Sophia in the afternoon. The Party delegation visited this community to see how residents had managed to overcome the severe flooding that Sophia had suffered. Residents in particular wanted the Leader of the Party to see how the Lama Canal had flooded its banks and had released flood waters into the community. The Community, assisted by Major General (Retired) Joe Singh placed sand bags along the banks to prevent further flooding. The Party delegation took the opportunity to distribute water and hampers to the adults and fruit juices to the children.

 

(B) The East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) – It was ‘touch and go’ on January 21st.

The Government is inclined to boast that the EDWC has been reduced to 57.50 GD, which is a safe level.  This is the boast of a man who was almost hit by a speeding car.  For it is now clear from the report of the Dutch experts that it was ‘touch and go’ from between October 2004 to early February this year.  Around January 21st, the water level of the EDWC hovered around 59 GD.  What does this mean?  The experts have explained that this is a dangerous level and given the precarious nature of the top 30% of the EDWC, one hundred billion gallons of water could have been dumped on the East Coast and the city and destroyed them completely.  What saved us was the decision to release conservancy water into the Mahaica area, a necessary decision that had dire consequences for the Mahaica farmers.  In the unforgettable words of the Duke of Wellington “It was a close run thing.” 

In any case boasting is out of place as the normal rainy May/June season is almost upon us.  The Government has a lot of work to do in terms of strengthening the dam and rehabilitating important sections of the drainage and irrigation system.  In this regard we can do no better than quote the final paragraph of the Editorial in Sunday Stabroek of February 13, 2005: 

“Most of all, of course, the citizens want the government to recognize that the fact that the dam held up this time, does not mean that it will do so the next time if it and the drainage system are not given emergency attention.  We cannot afford to play Russian roulette with the conservancy every time a rainy season comes along.” (A picture showing the EDWC at 59 GD is attached)

(C) Medical 

The Party has information to indicate that medical teams on the East Coast examined approximately 85,844 residents.  Contrary to many published reports, the number of people clinically diagnosed with Leptospirosis is one hundred and thirty two (132) persons; Thirty-four (34) persons have died from the disease.  

(D) Party Outreach

The Party continues to air its nightly programme, “Nation Watch” during which it updates its supporters, well wishers and the Guyanese public at large about important developments in respect to the flooding and its aftermath.

 

People’s National Congress Reform
Flood Crisis Centre
February 14, 2005

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