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Coastal flooding: Guyana to establish shelters; residents told to avoid non-essential travel

In the wake of serious flooding along the densely populated coastland, emergency response authorities are preparing to set up shelters for residents affected by several inches of water in their lower flats.

Residents have been told to avoid non-essential travel. Weather satellite maps show that more heavy rainfall is likely throughout Thursday.

The full list of key decisions taken by an emergency meeting of Cabinet held at 4 O’clock Thursday morning is:

o An aerial survey of the coastal areas of the country will be done to ascertain the extent of the flooding along the coast.
o The Ministries of Public Security and Communities will contact all regional offices, stations and police outposts to obtain a quick briefing of any affected areas.
o Shelters will be established in suitable areas for any residents that require temporary accommodation.
o Traffic restrictions will be issued and citizens are advised that all non-essential travel should be avoided.

At the  meeting summoned by President David Granger, Cabinet also agreed to activate the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has since been activated

The Guyana Defence Force will be supporting the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Ministry of Communities in flood relief efforts, the Ministry of the Presidency said in a statement.

Over the past 16 hours Guyana has experienced an intense period of rainfall. Georgetown received approximately 70mm of rainfall.The East Coast of Demerara received approximately 100mm, while Leonora in Region 3 received around 225mm. This resulted in flooding in most low-lying areas.

The President was briefed by the Minister of Public Infrastructure and assured that all mechanical pumps in the city were operational during the night. At low tide, at 7:00 am this morning, all sluices in Georgetown were opened, with the exception of the one at Sussex Street, which is under repairs. This will bring some measure of relief to the higher sections of Georgetown.

Rainfall of approximately 20mm – 40mm is anticipated in the next 12 hours, which will contribute to additional flooding in low-lying areas.

The emergency Cabinet meeting will reconvene at 8:00 am this morning, after which further updates will be provided.