Guyana: Post flood recovery update 30 Jun 2005

Georgetown, GINA, June 30, 2005 - The Planning Recovery and Implementation Secretariat is in the process of distributing flood relief cheques to the initial batch of rice farmers. It has also completed the initial disbursement of the $10,000 household assistance.

During the extended period, May 21 -- 29, numerous claims were made for flood relief, in addition to many appeals and queries.

Head of the Secretariat, Robeson Benn said, "We were surprised to have so many claims, but after verifying these claims payments will be made shortly."

Approximately 61,000 householders cheques were already issued.

Payments for small businesses and farmers have begun along the East Coast Demerara and will progress to other affected areas in Georgetown, East Bank Demerara and Region Three shortly.

According to Benn more than 9,000 cheques will be issued to agricultural farmers and approximately 900 for small businesses. He is optimistic that in another few weeks the distribution of cheques would be completed.

Apart from the assistance to householders and farmers and small businesses, the Government of Guyana has several other plans to assist Guyanese who were affected by the January/February flood.

The other components are health, education, drainage and irrigation and garbage disposal. In the education sector, the Secretariat Head said he is still awaiting the finalization of tenders for school furniture. He said there are strides being made in the health area.

"We have already made arrangements with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture in ensuring that areas that were flooded remain environmentally friendly," added Benn.

In terms of drainage work, the National Drainage and Irrigation Task Force set up by Government has reported that all emergency work in Regions 4 and 5 have been completed, while Region Three's is substantially completed.

The Secretariat is responsible for fulfilling Government's mandate of assisting families who were severely affected by the January flood, and on March 18 last, President Bharrat Jagdeo announced a $2.8B recovery package to assist Guyanese who were affected by Guyana's worst natural disaster.