“Proper assessment” yet to be submitted – Harmon
WCD flood compensation…NDC says complete assessment was submitted since MarchIt has been almost four months since several villages on the West Coast of Demerara were hit by a devastating flood, and residents are yet to be compensated for their losses.Government is, however, adamant that a complete assessment of the flooding has not been submitted, and accordingly, it cannot make any reimbursements in this respect.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, in an interview with Guyana Times on Wednesday, explained that during his last visit to that area, it was decided that the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the relevant Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) would make “a proper assessment” of the damages.“The last time I came here, I indicated to them that there’s an assessment whichUitvlugt/Tuschen NDC Chairman, Vishal Ambedkarhad to be done by the CDC, and that the NDC Chairman was supposed to be in touch with the Civil Defence Commission to make a proper assessment of the damages,” Harmon explained.The Minister of State posited that he has not received any response from the NDC. He related that he is awaiting the assessment before a decision is taken on the allocation of monies to the hundreds of affected residents.He noted, “I haven’t heard back from the CDC or from the NDC Chairman. So I think that is where it is. Once that is done, then we can make a decision where that is concerned.”NDC responseContacted on Thursday, Uitvlugt-Tuschen NDC Chairman Vishal Ambedkar told this publication that the council has not received any word from the Ministry. He also contended that the assessment was completed and submitted.“When we met, we would’ve indicated to Minister Harmon that we would’ve done our assessment. We have forwarded that to the Regional Executive Officer as well as to Minister Harmon. To say now that he is awaiting a report is very undesirable,” Ambedkar has said.Ambedkar noted that during that meeting with Minister Harmon, there was no indication that collaboration between the NDC and the CDC was required to conduct the assessment. However, he said, if that is what is needed to finalise the criteria surrounding the compensation, the CDC should be engaged.“We were not aware that we had to do anything combined. If so, then I think that the CDC and representatives from the council should sit and discuss it, if that’s theMinister of State Joseph Harmonway to go forward. At this point, we have received no communication which would’ve suggested that we should be part and parcel with the CDC to (compile) a list. As we are aware, our list was submitted since in March, which is the first quarter of the year, and we’re way past the second quarter,” Ambedkar said.The NDC chairman added that while representatives from the CDC were engaged in separate consultations with a few residents, the Council is unclear as to whether their calculations were “comprehensive” and all the factors surrounding the damages were considered.In his reasoning, Minister Harmon highlighted the initiatives other than the compensation from which the residents would benefit. Those include rehabilitation of the ruptured seawall structure.RecapEarlier in March of this year, waves from the Atlantic Ocean generated during a spring tide battered the seawall along the WCD, and residents were awakened from their morning slumber to find their homes completely inundated by the waters.Immediately, members of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) were dispatched to the various areas, where sandbags were used to temporarily fill the gaps in the seawall. When the water had receded, the Public Infrastructure Ministry had sent contractors to make temporary repairs by placing boulders along the gaps where sandbags were used to prevent the water from entering the dwellings of the residents.As a result of the flooding, the livelihoods of many were affected, and many hadWaters buffeting the sea defence structure in early Marchincurred infrastructural and household losses which resulted from the invading waters. In some cases, the communities suffered demolished fences, confiscated bridges, and destroyed furniture and other household appliances as the ocean laid siege to a beleaguered community.Some persons were also forced to leave their homes and take refuge in relief centres set up at various locations in the communities. Their losses at that time had tallied to some $100 million after initial evaluations were conducted when the water had receded.