GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Weeks of heavy rains have flooded large parts of the South American nation of Guyana, turning communities into lakes, destroying farms and ranches and putting pressure on authorities to bring relief to beleaguered residents.
Officials said some areas were still under 2 feet of water nearly two weeks after the heaviest single day of rainfall, May 27, when about 5 inches fell in less than 24 hours, and many highways remained cut, hampering relief efforts.
The country was braced for additional bouts of rains this week this week.
“Many of our brothers and sisters across Guyana are faced with the worst disaster we have ever had, or they have ever had, in the history of our country,” President Irfaan Ali said late Monday after returning from communities in the west, near the Venezuelan border. “I spoke to the people where their entire lives have been destroyed."
The government of the country of 800,000 called a special session of Parliament on Thursday to approve emergency aid ranging from food and water to farm materials.
Owners of thousands of gold and diamond mining camps also have had to abandon production as rivers overflowed their banks and rushed into mining pits.
“I have never seen so much rain in my 66 years on the face of this earth,” said former miner Cosmos DeSantos, now director at the National Planning Agency.
National Weather Service director Garvin Cummings said Tuesday that this year's May was the second wettest since 1981.
The Associated Press