Whilst admitting that the Guyana Hydrometeorological Office failed to provide warning, Government is still blaming the Opposition-led City Council for the floods that occurred in and around Georgetown last Wednesday.
According to Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, at the Office of the President, “Flooding will always be with us…Our ability to discharge water from the land could at any time be exceeded by its accumulation.
“For authorities, for citizens, what matters are warnings preparedness and responses in the extant situation of November 26 and onwards. Hydromet failed us.”
He admitted that warnings were not provided in a “timely way”. Guyana Hydrometeorological Office is a constituent of the preparation of the national disaster preparedness strategy that is currently being compiled.
According to Dr. Luncheon, the Hydrometeorological office gets information from the satellite system and capital investments made by Government to improve forecasting. He added that the office’s information is predictive and feeds into the early warning system located at the Civil Defence Commission.
The Cabinet Secretary said that it was unfortunate that for November 26 rains no information was fed into the early warning system. He said the possibility exists that hydromet received information and did not feed it into the early warning system or no information was received.
According to Dr. Luncheon, investigations are ongoing to ascertain what caused the information not to be available.
Dr. Luncheon also took a swipe at the City Council’s preparedness for the recent rainfall that flooded the City on November 26. He said the City Council also failed and a report on their preparedness for this rainy season should be demanded.
“The focus for the report would be drains and pumps and kokers…The solutions are obvious and well known; the drainage in the City needs to be fixed, desilted, (there must be) access to canals whose reserves and borders have been let by the APNU-led City Council for squatting and housing that have made South Georgetown a virtual lake during the flood periods,” he said.
The situation needs to be fixed, he said.
Hinting at the possibility of Local Government Elections, Dr Luncheon said that any incoming City Council needs to make a commitment to residents of South Georgetown to address the issue of desilting those main canals.
He said that desilting the canals was prevented by the “age long APNU, PNC-led opposition Council as permitted, orchestrated and encouraged over the decades.”
According to Dr. Luncheon, increased mechanical drainage capacity with more enhanced and bigger pumps is needed to deal with similar situations.
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