Flood disaster in Guyana
January 21, 2005
Flood disaster in Guyana

GEORGETOWN: Guyana Tuesday declared its flood-hit capital Georgetown and surrounding areas disaster zones after the heaviest rains in more than a century.

The floods swamped streets of the capital, and schools and many offices and stores remained closed.{{more}}

Shelters were set up in Georgetown and outlying districts to house the people forced to leave their homes, and government teams were distributing food, the Government Information News Agency (GINA) said.

As the flood waters rose in many areas, the government yesterday declared the following administrative regions as disaster areas:

1. Region Three – West Demerara/Essequibo Islands

2. Region Four – Demerara/Mahaica

3. Region Five – Mahaica/West Berbice

Government spokesman, Robert Persaud, said the declaration of a disaster would enable the government to tap overseas assistance and put special and additional relief in place for these communities.

“It also reflects how seriously the administration views the current situation”, he told the Chronicle.

President Bharrat Jagdeo spent hours visiting flood-hit communities on the east coast Demerara Tuesday afternoon and promised to speed up relief efforts.

Meanwhile, a 38-year-old man of Lusignan Pasture, east coast Demerara, is believed to be the first fatality in the flooding that has swept several parts of the coast.

Residents Tuesday said Chatterpaul Persaud, known as Sham, appeared to have drowned in his yard, which is under about five feet of flood water.

Neighbours said Persaud lived with a sister, who is an invalid, and was last seen on Sunday in his yard.

His body was discovered Tuesday around 11 a.m. by neighbours.

Housing and Water Minister Shaik Baksh, who was on a visit to the area to check on the flood situation, was shown the body of the deceased.