A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
Since mid-May 2021, Guyana has been experiencing higher than normal levels of rainfall across the country. This has led to what is being described in the local media as “the worst flooding ever seen”.
Communities across Guyana have been grappling with varying levels of floodwaters during the May-June rainy season. Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in Guyana reported flooding in the regions of Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region 10), East Berbice-Corentyne (Region 6), and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region 9) from May 11, 2021. As of May 21, 2021, over 1,380 homes were flooded, crops and livestock damaged, and some families evacuated. Bartica in Region 7 Cuyuni-Mazaruni, which sits at the confluence of the Cuyuni and Mazaruni Rivers with the Essequibo River, was flooded from around May 25, 2021. Media reported parts of the town were under flood water 1 meter deep, affecting dozens of families. Heavy rainfall 26 to May 27, 2021, combined with a high tide, caused flooding in the region of Barima-Waini (Region 1). Local officials reported hundreds of families were affected in Mabaruma, Port Kaituma, and Moruca.
Guyana’s Hydrometeorological Service reported 138.7 mm of rain in Kumaka, Region 1, in 24 hours on 26 May 2021. Parts of Mahaica-Berbice (Region 5) mostly after flooding along the Mahaicony River; and Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region 2), after flooding from the Pomeroon River which has affected over 1,000 residents’ officials said. Parts of Region 4 (Demerara-Mahaica) were also affected, including areas surrounding the capital Georgetown. Floodwaters in Kwakwani have now risen to about 14 feet, past the roofs of many homes. With continuous rainfall expected, he said it is possible for the water to rise even higher.
On 6 June, Guyana’s President called attention to the widespread devastation created by extensive flooding and lamented the loss of livelihood and the destruction of houses and farms. The President further explained that hundreds of homes had been ruined while thousands of farms have been obliterated. On 8 June 2021, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) of Guyana reported that they have distributed almost 30,000 food kits and cleaning hampers across the most affected Regions (Five, Six, Nine, and Ten) and provided shelters for households impacted by flooding in Regions Nine and Ten. As of 10 June, and according to official sources, a total of 34,500 people have been affected (6,900 households) so far.
The CDC has activated the National Response Platform and has called on the support of the Guyana Red Cross (GRC) to assist in facilitating the needs of those most impacted. On June 3, 2021, the Guyana Red Cross posted its initial report on the GO Platform.
According to Guyana’s Hydrometeorological Service weather briefing for June 37, 2021, rains are expected to continue with conditions being attributed to the passage of a tropical wave embedded within the ITCZ. There is a severe weather bulletin in effect and forecasted conditions will likely lead to continued flooding of areas that are already under water and mudslides over hilly areas.
In addition to concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, other health threats are likely to emerge due to the use of pit latrines in some areas. The CDC’s Director-General also highlighted that people’s crops, livestock, and other infrastructure had been damaged. Forecasts suggest that the heavier-than-normal rainy season — which has already caused severe flooding — could continue into July 2021.
Guyana currently hosts migrants from various countries of origin, including South Africa, Cuba, Haiti, Pakistan, and Venezuela. Due to the economic and health crisis in neighboring Venezuela, the number of Venezuelan migrants in Guyana has significantly increased in recent years. An estimated 12,000 Venezuelans reside in the country, with over 9,000 registered for asylum to date. A majority enter outside of established border crossings, through the country’s porous borders in Regions 1 and 7 alongside Venezuela or through Region 9 along the border with Brazil.
Considering the impact of the floods and the Government's request, the Guyana Red Cross has requested assistance in dealing with current and anticipated flooding.