…CDC says ‘info’ to be shared with ministries of Foreign Affairs, Citizenship AFFECTED by Hurricane Dorian, approximately 100 Guyanese living in The Bahamas have directly and indirectly reached out to the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) for assistance, the CDC’s Senior Response Officer, Captain Salim October, has disclosed.
The CDC has joined its Regional partners through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to provide relief and support to the Bahamians and Guyanese who have been affected as a result of Dorian, a Category 5 Hurricane that struck the Bahamas. Here in Guyana, the CDC has established a Whatsapp contact – 592-662-0671 – for affected Guyanese to reach out for assistance.
“So far we have about 100 persons on a list to be verified,” Captain October told Guyana Chronicle while explaining that Guyanese would have directly and indirectly reached out to the CDC. The Senior Response Officer indicated that all of the persons on the list are in need of some form of assistance
“There were a few cases where persons indicated their desire to return home,” he added. The information, Captain October said, will be sent to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Citizenship for appropriate action. “At the moment we are compiling the list, then the next stage, which is quite soon, we will provide that information to Citizenship and Foreign Affairs, who will investigate the appropriate means and mechanisms for facilitating those persons,” the Senior Response Officer explained.
Last Friday, Finance Minister Winston Jordan said Guyana stands ready to welcome home all victims of Hurricane Dorian. “Guyana will welcome everybody with open arms. We have such a big land so we can accommodate everybody. We have a couple of small islands in the Essequibo, so we will want to do something about it,” he said at a recent forum.
While systems are being put in place to facilitate the return of Guyanese who have indicated that they no longer wish to remain in The Bahamas due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, other systems are being activated to help both Guyanese and Bahamians through the provision of critical items.
Here in Guyana, the Private Sector, Government and Non-Governmental Organisations have thrown their support behind the CDC as it ramps up efforts to provide much needed assistance to those affected. Captain October said the public and private sectors have been provided with a ‘General Needs List,’ however, they were cautioned that these lists tend to change as contributions and donations are made.
“These lists tend to change quite rapidly, particularly because international organisations and bilateral partners that the country will have access to, that will step in and provide those resources on demand. Sometimes those lists are not adequately updated in a timely manner, so by the time you get it, some of those gaps may have been closed,” Captain October explained.
He said in the medium term of recovery, the Private Sector has indicated its willingness to support the move to bring relief to those living in The Bahamas. “Once we indicated to them specifically what the needs are in terms of actually physical resources, they will be willing to mobilise resources within their entity. At the moment, the Private Sector has committed financial resources and the commercial banks are leading those processes,” he detailed.
The CDC has established two bank accounts for persons to make their contribution. Those accounts are: Republic Bank Account #651-993-8 and GBTI Account #011802963011. GBTI has led by example, pledging $3M in hurricane relief. Edward B Beharry & Co Ltd, which has a majority control of GBTI, and the National Milling Company of Guyana Inc. (NAMILCO) have renewed their commitment to support the relief efforts.
In addition to finance, pumps, reverse osmosis plants, generators, tents, hygiene kits, potable water, non-perishable food items and water containers are among the items on the needs list.
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Captain Gerry Gouveia, during a recent meeting with the CDC, said the Private Sector stands ready to offer its support to the CDC to bring relief to Bahamians as was done in 2017 when Category Five Hurricane Irma and Maria struck the U.S Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica. “We certainly will be working with you now as much as we could,” the PSC Chairman told Minister Hastings-Williams and the CDC Director-General. “This is about a piece of humanity that we need to keep, digging deeper and deeper because this is really beyond the control of human beings, what is happening on the face of the earth, and whatever we can do, we have dig deeper to keep showing that face and hand of humanity because we never know when we are going to be on the other end of this,” Captain Gouveia added. On Sunday, September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian, a Category Five storm, made landfall on The Bahamas at Elbow Cay, Abacos Islands, at approximately 12:40 pm with 185 mph winds. The Abacos Islands and Grand Bahama, which collectively have a population of approximately 76,000 people, have been severely affected.
During the recent meeting with the Private Sector, Captain October provided a synopsis of the situation while confirming the date, time and magnitude of Hurricane Dorian. “Interestingly enough, its maximum sustained winds was the highest recorded on the Islands of The Bahamas to date in its history,” Captain October said while noting that it was a slow moving hurricane that sustained its 185 mph winds for one and a half days – travelling 30 miles in the northern Bahamas. He confirmed too that the Abacos Islands and Grand Bahama have been severely affected.
“We anticipate that while there are seven confirmed deaths, there can be reports of much more as the assessment progresses. The assessment is only in its second day so far, search and rescue efforts are still highly afoot, and parts of the Abacos have been totally decimated,” he reported.
The CDC Senior Response Officer pointed out too that a shanty town called ‘The Mud,’ which was owned by Haitian immigrants, was completed decimated. Additionally, approximately 60 per cent of the homes in March Habour are damaged. “Water and sanitation are currently compromised on those two islands,” he further reported while explaining that “a large per cent of water that is consumed on the island has to be treated through reverse osmosis plants and therefore if the water system is contaminated those plants will not function properly.” A number of the reverse osmosis plants have also been destroyed.
PULL QUOTES: 1: ‘So far, we have about 100 persons on a list to be verified. There were a few cases where persons indicated their desire to return home’ — CDC’s Captain Salim October
‘Guyana will welcome everybody with open arms. We have such a big land, so we can accommodate everybody. We have a couple of small islands in the Essequibo, so we will want to do something about it’ â”Finance Minister, Winston Jordan
LINK ORIGINAL: Guyana Chronicle