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EU channels GYD$37 million flood relief to Guyana Red Cross

Last Updated on Friday, 25 June 2021, 13:58 by Denis Chabrol

The European Union (EU) on Friday said it was channeling more than 150,000 Euros (GYD$37 million) to the Guyana Red Cross Society to support people affected by the recent wave of intense floods that has hit communities across the country.

The EU says the Guyana Red Cross Society, which is present in all affected districts, will be providing the relief.

The funds will be channeled to the Guyana Red Cross through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in support of their Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).

The EU says the assistance will last for three months and aims at providing immediate support to 500 vulnerable families currently living in temporary shelters in the most severely affected regions of Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo, Upper Demerara and Berbice.

With EU funding, the EU says the Guyana Red Cross will identify the 200 most vulnerable families and deliver to them cash and vouchers so that they can purchase what they most urgently need to help them through the difficult period of dislocation.

In order to reduce the risks connected to a potential spread of the coronavirus, the EU says the shelters will be equipped with first aid kits and people will receive 5,000 N95 masks and 1,000 flacons of hand sanitizer.

The EU funding will also help the Guyana Red Cross swiftly provide families with kitchen sets, solar lamps, and durable mosquito nets to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya or Zika.

Families will also receive hygiene kits, jerrycans, household cleaning kits and water treatment tablets to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases which are likely to increase due to the persistence of stagnating water.

Ambassador of the European Union to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantó in brief comments referred to the meeting between the EU Delegation and the Director General of Guyana’s Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on June 11, to facilitate the activation of the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism. Following the CDC’s request the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service was also activated on June 14, to provide satellite maps of the affected flood areas across Guyana.

Ambassador Ponz Cantó highlighted that, “this humanitarian grant of EURO 150,000 is already complemented by the intervention of the French Red Cross, which was coordinated by the Embassy of France in Suriname and channeled via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.’

Guyana has been experiencing higher-than-normal levels of rainfall since May and local authorities estimate that the subsequent extensive flooding has affected over 36,000 households across 300 communities.

The country has been experiencing higher-than-normal levels of rainfall since May and local authorities estimate that the subsequent extensive flooding has affected over 36,000 households across 300 communities.

With severe weather expected to continue, the main risk is that due to low lying lands and minimal tidal differences, flood waters will retrieve slowly hence generating stagnant pools that would contribute in increasing the risk of water and mosquito-borne diseases.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF.

For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and the European Commission enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.