…Harmon commits to deploying more resourcesFlood-hit Region 9Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, on Friday visited the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo region (Region Nine), where he charged the Regional Administration to work collectively with every stakeholder and to utilise every available State resource at its disposal to ensure that they serve the residents affected by flooding, even as the waters continue to recede after rising as much as five feet in some areas.An aerial view of the flood situation in Region 9Minister Harmon, who first stopped at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Boardroom to meet with officials of the Regional Administration, Ministries and Government agencies, said Government is committed to bringing relief to the residents. He told the officials that every effort must be made to reach every resident who has been affected by the flood, which resulted from the overtopping of several rivers, particularly the Takutu River, due to heavy rainfall in the region and over in neighbouring Brazil.“I want to say that in a situation like this we don’t have administration and others, we have one administration, and so the resources of the administration must be put to the use of the people… if we have to take meals out to the people, we have to do so. When we speak about administration in these circumstances, we are talking about all of the resources of the region being applied to that situation.“Every Government department must chip in with (its) resources, so that the citizens are not affected in a major way. I am asking that we coordinate and cooperate where the resources of the region are concerned. This is not a normal situation, and therefore we have to act a little bit unusual. What that ‘unusualness’ means is that we have to pool our resources for the benefit of the people,” Minister Harmon is quoted by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying.The State Minister said the current weather patterns in the region and in Brazil will see the water rising and receding at frequent intervals; but with a coordinated approach, some semblance of order can exist. He acknowledged the rapid response by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Regional Administration, which have been working in tandem to respond and to continue to monitor the situation on the ground.At present, 59 persons have been evacuated and placed in three shelters which were established, and they are being tended by the region with support from the CDC.The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has also been providing support through a boat shuttle service for residents from 06:00 hours to 18:00 hours every day.Minister Harmon noted that, overall, he is satisfied with the arrangements put in place, as the response and preparation this year has far surpassed those that were in place last year.“Two years ago we had this situation, and this year I am happy to see that there is a greater level of coordination of the operations here, and I am very pleased about that. So I am asking that you work together with the region,” he said.The CDC, on Friday, carried in the supplies requested by the region, including water purification tablets, collapsible bottles, detergents and cleaning supplies, beddings and blankets, among other materials.Minister Harmon noted that since the flooding is expected to be an annual occurrence, the administration will work to fast-track the construction of a bond for the CDC in the region, which would provide storage for materials in the event of a disaster.Meanwhile, Regional Chairman Brian Allicock, in an invited comment, said the water has begun to recede, although it remains high in some areas. The region, he noted, is continuously monitoring the communities in the South Rupununi, particularly since 31 of the villages have had their access cut off due to the floodwaters. However, he said that he remains hopeful that the water would recede by this evening.“Yesterday (Thursday) we got scared because the water was coming in so rapidly, but thank God, this morning (Friday) the water stopped coming in. What is happening is that it is going and coming. In the forecast from Brazil, there is rain for the next couple of days, and we have a back-up of the waters in the rivers over there into the Takutu. Currently, we cannot access Karasabai by road, and even when you go by boat, you have to wade through waist-high water to get into the village; so they are totally cut off. The South villages, 31 villages in total, have been cut off. Nothing can go in or come out so far, but the water is receding and I hope to hear positive news,” Allicock said.The CDC continues to monitor the situation in the region, and will provide support as it becomes necessary.