Guyana: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 4
Tue, 1 Feb 2005, 12:43
Ref: OCHA/GVA – 2005/19
1. The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team reports that the Guyana Meteorological Service forecasts continuing rains across the national territory for the next four days. Drainage efforts are ongoing in affected areas of the East Coast (area between the capital Georgetown and Mahaica to the east).
2. The national authorities report that the water is now at 8-24 inches (20-61 cm) below the crest of the Conservancy Dam. The water levels monitored in affected villages indicate that these levels are either stationary or decreasing. 100 workers are carrying out repairs and control in the Conservancy area. However, the rains of the past two days and the preoccupying weather forecast have placed the relief community on alert for a possible exacerbation of the flooding.
3. As long as the water levels remain at the current level, a large proportion of the population in the flood-affected areas will continue to depend on relief assistance. The Joint Operations Centre (JOC)/ Civil Defence Commission (CDC) estimates that the flooding has affected more than 200,000 persons.
4. According to GCIFR, 293,988 persons have been affected (39 per cent of the total population) in 113 villages. This represents some 60,000 families, mainly on the East and West Coast, and the West Bank. In the most affected area, (the East Coast from Georgetown to Mahaica), GCIFR estimates 72,020 people in 68 villages have been affected.
5. Guyana has a total population of 750,000 persons, of whom 90 percent live on only 10 percent of the national territory by the coast and along the east and west banks of the Demerara River. The affected area is estimated by the Guyana Citizens Initiative for Flood Relief (GCIFR) at 1,400 square km, which is 6.5 percent of the country (total: 215,000 square km).
National and International Response
6. On 29 and 30 January, the UNDAC Team facilitated a coordination meeting involving community-level actors, the national authorities, international agencies and bilateral donor representatives. The Guyana Citizens Initiative for Flood Relief (GCIFR) was established and convened a meeting of NGOs and other relief actors on 29 January. On the basis of baseline data and field assessments, GCIFR has established a matrix of affected populations.
7. On 30 January, the Joint Operations Centre (JOC), which is supporting the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in coordinating national relief efforts, invited international agencies to attend a briefing on national relief activities.
8. The United Nations Resident Coordinator visited flood-affected areas on 30 January together with national and international partners. The United Nations Country Team, while involved in emergency relief activities, is also looking ahead at recovery requirements that will be essential to address as soon as the levels of flooding have decreased significantly. The UN Country Team is preparing an international appeal to cover UN recovery activities over six months.
National and International Response by Sector
9. Sixty-nine shelters are in operation as of 30 January, housing 4,483 people. It is estimated that additional 400 people could be accommodated.
10. Some deficiencies have been reported in the water distribution to the shelters. This issue is to be addressed among the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Oxfam and JOC/CDC. NGOs are verifying the potential need for mattresses in some of the shelters.
11. Organizations involved in this sector are: JOC/CDC, the Guyana Red Cross, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Catholic Relief Services, GCIFR, the Rotary Club, the Lions Club and community-level initiatives.
12. The actors in this sector focus on 32,800 beneficiaries and distribute prepared meals in shelters and food packages for the affected population. WFP with JOC/CDC will assess the most flood-affected areas to determine the target population for contributing dry rations intended for 10,000 persons for one month. WFP will work with JOC/CDC, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and OCHA/UNDAC in this emergency operation.
13. The Guyana Red Cross (GRC) has distributed aid to 14,285 beneficiaries, in the east coast of Georgetown. The headquarters was converted into a shelter last week to house 30 people whose homes were flooded. Volunteers are cooking more than 400 meals a day to distribute in the city.
Water and Sanitation
14. Organizations involved in this sector are: the Ministries of Health, Housing and Water, the Environmental Protection Agency, CDC-JOC, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), the Guyana Red Cross/IFRC, PAHO/WHO, UNICEF, Oxfam, the Catholic Relief Services, and GCIFR.
15. The authorities, together with national and international agencies involved in this sector, are addressing the needs of potable water for 127,000 persons. The authorities have installed water tanks at strategic locations close to the affected populations. There are 16 water distribution points in Sophia and 54 in Albouystown and East Coast Embankment Rd.
16. In addition, 19 mobile trailers are delivering water to the beneficiaries and 29 standpipes have been fitted to address potable water needs. GWI has also distributed bottled water. The Government has established a National Commission for Water to plan activities in this sector.
17. IFRC announced that it would contribute 10,000-litre water tanks. A joint project of GWI, Oxfam and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) aims to mobilize Water Distribution Marshals for four weeks to monitor the water quality and distribution.
18. Organizations involved in this sector are: the Ministry of Health, JOC/CDC, the Guyana Red Cross/IFRC, PAHO/WHO, UNICEF and GCIFR.
19. The partners in this sector target 200,000 people. A major concern is to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases. A Ministry of Health ‘Flood Hotline’ is now in service. The Ministry issues a daily health situation analysis and is circulating health advisories on how to prepare potable water and reduce health risks. The Government has established National Commissions to address the issue of solid waste and of post-flood activities in this sector.
20. Thirty-five medical mobile teams involving some 300 medical personnel are visiting flood zones daily to address medical issues. The Guyana Red Cross has distributed hygiene kits to 30,000 people. The Humanitarian Supply Management System (SUMA) is operational at the capital’s airport and the CDC headquarters.
21. In the most flood-affected areas, 16 percent of health posts are fully functioning, 42 percent have limited functioning and 42 percent are out of service. Some health posts are inaccessible.
22. In the immediate term, the water distribution is the key to prevent health problems. The actors involved in this sector are also acutely aware of the health and environmental health issues that may arise, once floodwaters recede.
23. This situation report, together with the information on contributions and other ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int
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