More funds for disaster preparedness
-- CEO
Guyana Chronicle
November 10, 2006

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IN ITS continued focus on disaster preparedness, particularly in the face of the anticipated year-end rainy season, the government has authorized the additional expenditure of $416M for infrastructural and rehabilitation works in flood-prone areas along the coast and the water conservancies, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, announced yesterday.

He said the sum was authorized this week by Cabinet and will be used by the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority as additional expenditure in the drainage and irrigation (D&I) sector and to meet expenditures already incurred.

“That sum will see support for desilting and excavation of main irrigation and drainage canals and outfalls in affected Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs),” Luncheon told reporters at his weekly post-Cabinet briefing at the Office of the President.

Provision was also made for maintenance and rehabilitation of mechanical drainage systems in the coastal areas, he said.

Luncheon also reported that Prime Minister Samuel Hinds led a Cabinet team that visited and inspected the water control systems between the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) and the Crown Dam last Thursday.

“That visit complemented activities that were ongoing and which included a Civil Defence Commission (CDC) organised rehearsal of the functioning of an emergency communication network system for the EDWC,” he said.

This communication network system is in place to deal with the communication needs during a real crisis or emergency, he said.

Luncheon also noted efforts are ongoing to regulate the water level in the EDWC in anticipation of the December 2006 rains.

He said, too, that the Venezuelan technical team has completed its assessment in the riverain systems identified for possible dredging and that the reports are being awaited.

Luncheon said the availability of additional earth moving equipment at the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary/Agriculture Development Authority (MMA/ADA) and within the coastal regions has also allowed for specific exercises in local empoldering, allowing farmers to secure agricultural areas from flooding.

This, he noted, is predominantly concentrated in regions Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), Five (Mahaica/Berbice) and Six (East Berbice/Corentyne).

“The Cabinet oversight bodies are continuing their surveillance of the sector, reporting their findings to Cabinet and monitoring the implementation of approved interventions,” he told reporters. (MARK RAMOTAR)