Guyana, a country that considers itself a Caribbean nation, was reminded that it is in fact an integral part of the South American continent as rains accompanied by severe floods, which originated from the southern part of the continent, swamped the country – the worst flood in recent memory. Since mid-May, massive floods have made life unlivable mostly in the southern region of the country.
Although the rest of the country was not spared, Kwakwani, an old mining and logging town on the Berbice River in the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region, got the worst of it with water rising above the roofs of houses, driving residents out of town and into shelters. To date over 25,000 households in more than 300 communities have been affected by the floods. The agricultural sector has been badly damaged making food to skyrocket and in short supply. The problem has been exacerbated by the ongoing battle with the coronavirus epidemic.
As expected, Guyanese around the world have been providing relief in an ongoing exercise to help the brethren back home.
In Scarborough, the Guyana Flood Relief Drive is led by Guyanese Kelvin Alleyne, who gladly accepts the nickname “Poor People Governor”. He felt compelled to step up because in his words “it’s best to reach out to do something because the situation is dire.”
“Initially nothing was happening so I decided something needed to be done. A few days after I started the drive, the president of Guyana declared a state of emergency,” said Alleyne.
Alleyne, with the assistance of Denise Barrett Hubbard, Lenny Garnet and other close associates, contacted Guyanese groups and individuals in Scarborough, Brampton and North York for help. Meetings, flyers, emails, phone calls, and a fundraising campaign, including a GoFundMe campaign, resulted in the amassing of an impressive array of food, medical supplies, clothing, kitchen supplies, face masks, buckets of hand sanitizer gel that filled two storage units to capacity.
Last weekend, the Guyana Flood Relief members gathered to pack and load a shipping container to be sent off to Guyana this coming Friday. Alleyne said that “given the extent of loss and suffering this initial shipment is but the beginning of long campaign.”
“The extent of the damage is extreme,” said Alleyne; “apart from the material deprivations, illnesses like depression are widespread and will require ongoing financial assistance for some time. That’s why we are asking for financial help from our community.”
“This is the first chapter of an ongoing campaign. There’s a dire need to help people who have lost everything – no house, no community, no roof.”
The Guyana Flood Relief Drive needs all hands on deck. Money and more supplies are needed. To make a contribution you may call 647-994-7443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org