GEORGETOWN, Guyana (Tuesday, April 13, 2021) — Guyana will be dispatching 300 tonnes of emergency supplies, as its first response shipment to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, following the eruption of La Soufrière volcano, last Friday.
The items were loaded onto a vessel, docked at Muneshwers Wharf, will depart Guyana’s shores today, and the vessel is expected to reach its destination, by Friday.
Swift action by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC), to ensure the shipment leaves Guyana, is in keeping with President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s, instructions to render assistance to the sister CARICOM nation, as soon as possible.
The shipment includes sugar and rice, and — based on guidance from St. Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organisation — also a quantity of personal protective equipment and other items.
During a live program, ‘Guyana’s aid to St Vincent and the Grenadines’, on Monday, CDC’s Director-General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, said Guyana would be providing assistance in phases.
“The response phase is primarily to bring things back to normalcy, ensure lives are saved. Food, shelter and medical supplies are the things needed, immediately. Right now, all effort is on the response phase,” he reported.
The CDC head said organisations or businesses interested in making donations, can contact the agency at 226-1114, or make deliveries at its Thomas Lands headquarters.
Craig explained that a copy of the list of requests — posted on the CDC’s Facebook page — can also be sought, to ensure the donations meet the needs of the people of St. Vincent.
To date, there has been no reports, locally, of effects from the eruptions, although a team was established to monitor the direction the ash plumes are travelling, while consultation continues, between the CDC and the UWI Seismic Research Centre and the hydrometeorological office, for regular updates.
The Director-General said the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority also has to monitor the conditions to ensure the safety of flights, travelling in and out of Guyana.
Meanwhile, PSC Chair, Nicholas Boyer, said, once the body was notified of the plans to provide aid to St. Vincent, donations were solicited through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
“The CDC was fielded a list of needs and they shared that list of needs with us, and we started soliciting donations against that list. Then once we started to look at logistics being put in place, we have one ship being loaded with 300 tonnes and, towards the end of this week, we are going to have a second ship, also with the capacity of 300 tonnes,” he said.
Boyer added that it is possible to activate an arrangement that CDEMA has with several shipping lines in the Caribbean, to dispatch containerised cargo. He commended the business owners, who donated, willingly, despite the impact of COVID-19 on their establishments.
Currently, there are 88 shelters established in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, housing over 3000 displaced residents.
President Ali has promised that Guyana’s support to the volcano-beleaguered country will be continuous.