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Food shortage grips flood-ravaged hinterland communities; 30,000 households affected countrywide- Prime Minister

Last Updated on Friday, 11 June 2021, 9:29 by Denis Chabrol

Prime Minister Mark Phillips says flood-affected communities in the hinterland were facing the grim reality of food shortages, even as government was continuing to rush relief supplies to almost 30,000 persons countrywide whose farms and livelihoods have been badly affected.

“The situation in our hinterland is equally distressing… and to date, food security is now threatened in all our hinterland communities especially Regions 7, 8 and 9,” he told the National Assembly.

The Prime Minister has warned Guyanese to brace themselves for more floods in the coming weeks, even as efforts continue apace to bring relief to almost 30,000 persons whose farms and livelihoods have been badly affected.

He told the National Assembly that the rainy season can last until August.  “It is estimated that we will continue to experience above normal rainfall during the period June to August, 2021. During this period, Mr. Speaker, an increase in the number of wet days and approximately seven days of extreme wet spells can be expected. Flooding, also, remains a concern for our nation at least for the period June into mid-July 

The Prime Minister says all of the rivers from the Amacura river in north-western Guyana to the Corentyne in eastern Guyana have burst their banks. As a result, he said all contiguous farmlands have been flooded “throughout the coast.” 

He says the Civil Defence Commission has so far distributed 19,935 food hampers and 17,000 cleaning hampers as a form of emergency relief.

Mr. Phillips says more 29,300 households in more than 300 communities across Guyana have been affected, with a majority of them unable to provide for their basic needs of food and housing. He said homes have been damaged, livestock and domestic animals have been lost, crops have been destroyed and persons have evacuated. 

He says the Civil Defence Commission has so far distributed 19,935 food hampers and 17,000 cleaning hampers as a form of emergency relief. So far, 201 persons are housed in emergency shelters. 

President Irfaan Ali has since declared a Level 2 State of Emergency for the affected areas, paving the way for government to seek international assistance. Government has also asked the National Assembly to approve GYD$10 billion to finance relief efforts.