Commendable, sterling efforts Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
May 15, 2002

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THERE have been several recent disasters, especially those caused by fires, and these have taken a heavy toll on those affected.

Only recently, more than 70 residents on D'urban Street, Georgetown, were left homeless as a result of a massive fire.

In addition, intermittent floods have been affecting several communities across Guyana.

Just over a month ago unusual high tides caused flooding in some areas on the Corentyne, the Essequibo Coast and the islands of Wakenaam and Leguan, the latter being the hardest hit.

Disasters have immediate effects, as well as long-term suffering and tribulations - both physical and emotional/psychological - on survivors.

And of course providing relief to victims puts a heavy drain on financial and material resources.

In the case of this country the financial strain is even more severe, when one considers the limited finances available and so much to be done to overcome the underdevelopment from both colonial and post-colonial neglect and political and economic mismanagement of the past.

However, many organisations, including NGOs (non-government organisations), have been responding to the challenges posed by disasters.

Among those organisations, the Guyana Relief Council (GRC) has been quietly doing a wonderful job in providing assistance to hundreds of families across Guyana who have suffered from some form of disaster.

Under the chairmanship of Mrs. Yvonne Hinds, the GRC has been proactive and aggressive in garnering resources to carry out the noble task of helping those who have suffered as a result of some form of disaster.

It was indeed heartening to see at a recent GRC fund-raiser sponsored by the New Thriving Restaurant in Georgetown, a large gathering of Guyanese from all strata of society turning out to give their support.

Encouraging also was the attendance by members of the diplomatic corps.

During the event, Mrs.Hinds gave an indication of the scope of work the GRC is doing: "At the end of April we have helped over 50 families consisting of over 250 persons who suffered disasters of varying degrees in all ten regions of Guyana, and this does not include the welfare assistance which we have given to a number of individuals who have 'hard times' and to the hinterland communities of Gunns Strip, Matthews Ridge, Mahdia, Kato, Itabai and other villages in Region Eight."

There are other groups that help in times of disaster and the Government has various standby-by mechanisms, including the Civil Defence Commission, that are invaluable in major disasters.

But the efforts of the GRC are commendable and its members should be congratulated, encouraged and given the fullest support by all Guyanese, in their noble effort to bring relief to those who unfortunately are victims of various forms of disaster.