Guyana: Floods DREF Operation No. MDRGY001 Final Report
The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.
Summary: CHF 80,000 (USD 72,507 or EUR 52,105) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 23 December 2008 to support the Guyana Red Cross Society (GRCS) in delivering emergency relief assistance to 1,000 families. During December 2008, Guyana had reached the height of the rainy season. As a result, many communities were flooded with three feet of water and completely covered with mud and debris.
Distributions of non-food relief items such as hygiene and cleaning kits were completed successfully in April 2009. Safe drinking water was also provided in jerry cans (2 per family) to an additional 540 families through a partnership with the state owned Guyana Water Inc.
Non-stop rain began during the week of 8 December 2008, causing communities including Greenfield, Dazzel-Paradise, Haslington, and Foulis along the east coast of the Demerara River and part of the capital city of Georgetown to flood. After the rains ceased, flood waters were slow to recede, leading to hygiene and sanitation concerns. The health concerns identified were: skin rashes, vomiting, diarrohea and other water borne diseases. Sanitation was also a cocnern, as latrines and septic tanks were flooded. The government of Guyana made efforts to clear and dig canals and mobilized pumps to carry out cleaning activities. Fortunately, water wells were not flooded. However, cash crop farms and some livestock were affected by the floods. Some families had to raise their personal and household belongings to save them from the flood waters.
The Guyana Red Cross Society carried out rapid assessments between 17 and 18 December 2008, and the major problems were identified in the sectors of water, sanitation and hygiene. The flood water was at knee level in some communities and six inches deep in others. The Guyanese government estimated that 20,000 families were affected by the emergency. The GRCS identified four communities with an average of 1,000 families to be assisted with hygiene and cleaning kits. These kits were sourced locally and a system of vouchers was used. The vouchers were distributed to affected families and kits were collected from the suppliers. A total of 4,000 jerry cans were handed over to the Guyana Water Inc. in order to provide safe drinking water to families in need.