Jun 10, 2021 Letters
The move is indeed most necessary, and I hope that it will be totally automatic. I speak here of “When the National Assembly resumes sittings on Thursday, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government will be using the occasion to seek supplemental funding to the tune of $10 billion, to assist with flood mitigation measures throughout the country.”
We just cannot wait. The devastation is unprecedented and I am all for the Government in its move to make pre-emptive plans to aid those affected by the torrential rainfalls and flooding that have plagued communities, particularly in Regions Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, and 10.
Let me state clearly that nothing should stand in the way of reaching out from a national standpoint. It is the duty of the government of the day, and the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) to take the necessary steps, and hopefully will not be stymied in this planned effort.
I add that experiencing damage caused by extreme weather such as storms or flooding is not easy to deal with. At the mental level, there can be an increase in the chances of facing mental health problems such as stress and depression by 50%. Data can be accessed that show a quarter of people who have been flooded still live with these issues, at least two years after the event.
So, when the Government goes to the Parliament for supplementary provisions to address the flooding issues, seeking $10 billion in supplementary provisions, I hope that all Guyanese will be able to grasp the magnitude of what has happened and what must be done.
According to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, “It (the money) would help us to give enough to the farmers, the miners, all of those who have had their livelihoods disrupted, so we can give them some help to get back to productive activities. And of course, it would assist us in continuing to provide immediate assistance.”
In this regard, it is essential for us to be certain of a few realities of life after flooding: find out if the water supply is safe to drink before consuming water; avoid floodwaters, as they may be contaminated; drive cautiously as roads and dams are prone to be undermined after flooding.
I like the fact that the Vice President brought up the study done by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on the 2005 floods and its economic impact. As we can all see, it was found that Guyana lost approximately 59 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). So quite wisely, Jagdeo stated that “We have to plan for the future. We have to find solutions by building bypass canals, where if we want to open up more lands in the inner depth of the country so you can bypass the settlement and take inner water into the Atlantic Ocean. And we’re considering that even now.”
Readers must appreciate that torrential rainfalls and floodings leave almost permanent scars one way or another – uprooting of lives, disrupting livelihoods of persons as well as communities; and the setting back of sectors such as agriculture and mining.
The onus is on the Government to alleviate the issue and corporate Guyana must lend full support.
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