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Relief supplies rushed to flood-hit Mahaicony creek

Residents of Mora Point, Mahaicony creek, Region Five receiving flood relief assistance from Food for the Poor (GINA photo)

The non-governmental charitable organisation, Food for the Poor, on Thursday rushed relief supplies to flood-affected communities along the Mahaicony Creek, while health authorities embarked on an aggressive campaign to minimize the emergence of water-borne diseases.

The flood has been caused by excessive rainfall in recent days, forcing authorities to release water from the East Demerara Water Conservancy to reduce pressure on the fragile earthen dams of the reservoir and avert possible massive flooding of coastal areas. The conservancy contains at least 1 billion gallons of water.

Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton was quoted by the Government Information Agency (GINA) as saying that the Ministry has collaborated with Food for the Poor to provide some form of relief to the residents of the affected areas. Food items along with clothing and some medication were distributed.

Norton hoped that the Public Health Ministry and Food for the Poor would continue their long-standing partnership.

The Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud and other top officials visited Mora Point in Region Five where they advised residents about precautions they must take during floods. Norton urged the residents to be health conscious, safeguard their children, purify all drinking water, and practice good hygiene.

Authorities decided to ensure that a Medex is stationed at the Shri Prakash Gossai Health Centre which was opened on August 26, 2009.  Regional Health Officer (RHO) Gavin Persaud, who was also a part of the visiting team, committed to have a Medex stationed at the facility in a week’s time after which a one will be stationed and rotated every two months.

Further, he committed to having a doctor who will visit and make general rounds and referrals once every month. 

The Minister and the team visited the Shri Prakash Gossai Heath Center, Mora Point where he inspected their medical supply and interacted with the Community Health Worker (CHW), Davindra Rupchand. The minister was updated about the situation at the facility. This center was opened on August 26, 2009. 

The CHW is the key staff at the institution, and functions in all capacities, but such a situation is unacceptable, the   Minister said, and will be rectified. 

 He added that he was very disappointed that there are so many doctors being introduced to the public health system, but are not being deployed into these remote areas.

Head of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, Lionel Wordsworth said that while the level of the conservancy has been dropping since excess water was being discharged through the eight-door sluice of the northern relief channel at Hope, East Coast Demerara; several farmlands along the Mahaica and Mahaicony creeks remained under flood water.

In the upper reaches of the Mahaica and Mahaicony Rivers, the water level is high due to rainfall in the upper catchment areas over the past week, Wordsworth said.

Gravity drainage from the farmlands is therefore not possible. In the areas where there are outlets closer to the discharge points in the rivers, drainage is possible.

Wordsworth said that the new pump station built at Pine Ground, Mahaicony was activated on Saturday to bring relief to farmlands in Pine Ground on the right bank of the Mahaicony river.

There is a pump functioning, as well at Biaboo on the right bank of the Mahaica River

He was quoted by GINA as saying that the Northern Relief Channel became the first option over the use of the Maduni and Lama sluices because those could have worsened flood conditions in the upper reaches of the Mahaica and Mahaicony Rivers.

Water is also being discharged from the East Demerara Water Cobservancy through the Kofi, Cunha and Land of Canaan relief sluices into the Demerara River.