Guyana: Flood relief tally could be formidable - Dr. Luncheon
At a media conference he shared with Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Elizabeth Harper, Dr. Luncheon said that in the context of the wide-spread responses, the $200 million given for the flood relief effort is "a drop in the bucket".
He recalled that at a meeting on January 19, the donor community in Georgetown was briefed on the situation. He said that probably because of their own experiences here in Georgetown a solid and humanitarian approach was offered.
According to Dr. Luncheon, at that meeting, pledges were made and the Administration undertook to provide information of a suitable account at a local bank where cash pledges could be deposited.
He recalled too, that requests were made for an assessment of the situation, so that the donor community could mobilize to offer support.
According to Ambassador Harper, the US has pledged $50,000 which should be deposited tomorrow. DFID $183,000 which will be deposited into the local bank account to be used for the procurement of emergency supplies. From the IDB a pledge of $200,000 should also be deposited that week. From the EU-$100,00 which was used to procure items that came in the Red Cross shipment. from CIDA $35,000 which should be deposited tomorrow. From UNDP $100,000. UNICEF $75,000. The CDB has provided a $100,000 grant which will be managed by the Caribbean Response Disaster Agency.
And the World Bank approved the utilization of funds already allocated for HIV/AIDS programmes in Guyana to be diverted to the relief effort. The Bank will reimburse whatever funds are used in this regard.
Dr. Luncheon noted that at the bilateral level, Brazil was the first to send solid support. Sixteen tonnes of emergency food supplies arrived from Brazil and this has been distributed. A second shipment is expected tomorrow. A shipment of supplies is also expected from Venezuela.
The HPS also lauded the efforts at the local level, which came from businesses and private individuals. He noted OMAI's and Beepat's contributions of $10 million each.
"There has been an experience here in the relief effort which cannot help but enhance the image of Guyanese," he said.
According to Dr. Luncheon, the Guyanese Diaspora is also mobilizing to send relief for flood victims and the overseas missions are continuously being updated on the situation.
Dr. Luncheon said that in the short-term response, at the local level, both organized and individual, there has been a wealth of donation of both goods and services es. And from the donor community, the realization of pledges started today and these pledges are expected to continue over the next few days. From the international community and at the bilateral level, supplies and donations are being received and distributed.
In response to questions of Government's interventions to address the situation, Dr. Luncheon noted that the efforts consist of providing goods and services and getting the water to recede.
He pointed out that the information provided to local and international agencies lists pumps as one of the much needed items.