Flooding in Upper Surinam (09/05/2006)
Over this past weekend due to extreme rainfall large parts of the interior of Suriname, know as the Upper Suriname, have flooded severely. The water levels have risen to roof tops of buildings built on high ground, on the average between 2.5 and 3 meters. Note that this vast area is approximately 100-150 meters higher than Paramaribo in the coast. The road that leads to Brokopondo and beyond the lake is severely damaged due to rain and heavy equipment carrying logs, etc. hampering aid by road. People have lost their homes, business, means for education; basically their livelihoods.
The National Coordination Center for Disaster relief (NCCR), headed by Lt. Col. Jerry Slijngaard, is the focal point for all forms of relief. Others in this team are the ministers of finance, regional development, agriculture, defense and public health and the weather department. No action for help can be taken without them.
There is a list available of goods and supplies needed for the people in the affected areas, but it needs to be approved by the President before it can be made public later today. So let’s wait on that list. Slijngaard also stated that staple food (mainly rice) is needed now, as well as salted beef, salt, sugar, and other foodstuff consumed by the interior people. Other supplies immediately needed are tents, tarpaulins, hammocks, clothing, blankets, potable water, etc. I will update you when the list from the NCCR is published.
The most important commodity needed now is cash to purchase fuel for evacuation of people and transportation of supplies. Large companies (Suralco, DSB (the Suriname Bank, SRD U$12,000), Fernandes Holding company, etc) in Suriname have already given money to support the actions of the NCCR. From Holland money has been given through several NGO’s (e.g. People in need/Cordaid €75,000.00) and the Dutch government is ready to send relief based upon the request (see the list) of Suriname. On Sunday a flight will arrive from Holland with supplies given by Surov (Surinamers overseas). They have also said that they would send heavy equipment to Suriname.
With this we can now determine which course of action we will take in helping out those that are in need.