Gov’t addressing wildfires, dry season impacts

focusing on long-term climate adaptation – Dr Jagdeo

In response to the frequent wildfires and other effects of the prolonged dry season, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, stated that the government is investing in long- and short-term solutions.

During his weekly press conference, the GS acknowledged the impact that these adverse conditions have had on Guyanese, especially farmers.

Peoples Progressive Party’s (PPP) General Secretary Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

“It is affecting the livelihoods of some communities where the drought has killed their crops…even on the coastal belt, many communities have asked for irrigation water. Irrigation is the lifeblood of agriculture.

“If you don’t have irrigation, it affects agriculture. So, we have had that here on the coast, in the hinterland, in some areas, the crops have dried down,” Dr Jagdeo lamented.

He highlighted that the Ministry of Health and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) are alert and prepared to provide support where needed.  

Affected households in Region Nine will soon benefit from hampers, following a recent visit by President Irfaan Ali.

Dr Jagdeo mentioned that while there is ‘little to do’ about the prolonged dry season, the government is prioritising climate adaptation as a long-term solution.

He pointed out the global phenomenon of extreme weather events associated with climate change, a situation for which Guyana has been preparing.

He said, “Some countries have gone into famine because of their drought, the prolonged drought in Africa, and other places where they don’t have food now. It’s a phenomenon associated with climate change, something that we have spoken about for a very long time—the extreme weather that we will continue to experience. That’s why we are spending so much of our resources on adaptation measures.”

Climate adaptation refers to the actions taken to adjust to climate change’s current and expected impact.

The government’s support for this agenda is reflected in a plethora of its policies and initiatives.

A key example is the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LDCS2030), which is in its second phase of implementation.

Under this project, Guyana signed a carbon credits agreement which sees the country being paid to maintain its forest cover.

A large portion of these funds, 85 per cent, is directed to supporting sustainable development projects, while the remaining 15 per cent is allocated to indigenous communities.

“Maybe over US$2 billion will be spent in the country on adaptation, outside of the part that goes directly to the Amerindian villages, and that is to manage water resources,” the GS explained.

Other long-term solutions include investments in water infrastructure.

The government is building Hope-like canals in regions three, five, and six to provide additional storage capacity.

The Hope Canal, located on the East Coast Demerara, is a multi-part channel with an eight-door sluice that drains excess water from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) into the Atlantic Ocean to prevent flooding.

In this year’s budget, $72.3 billion has been allocated for the maintenance and advancement of drainage and irrigation expansion.

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