GBTI provides a wide range of services to the Guyana community, from convenient online banking to specialized loans for local entrepreneurs and farmers. Dedicated to helping the Guyana community as much as possible, GBTI also regularly engages in philanthropy and has recently focused on assisting communities affected by flooding.
Guyana has often struggled with flooding due to excessive rainfall, with 2005 one of the primary examples. That year, 34 lives were lost to flooding, which also affected crops and livestock. However, 2020 also brought a considerable amount of rain, damaging hundreds of homes in several parts of the country. Particularly in the last half of October, critical flooding affected more than 1,600 households.
The flooding that occurred in late October was related to heavy rainfall and thundershowers combined with abnormally high tides that prevented rivers and the sea from compensating appropriately for the additional water. This type of flooding is known as a flash flood. Recent flash floods in Guyana have occurred in both 2013 and 2016.
The damage that occurred in 2020 affected several regions, including Pomeroon-Supenaam, Demerara-Mahaica, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica Berbice, and Upper Demerara-Berbice. Altogether, dozens of communities were deemed to be severely impacted by this flooding, with many people reporting flood waters in their homes. The rainfall also impacted Georgetown, the capital of Guyana.
Initial Responses to the 2020 Flooding Experienced in Guyana
As a result of the flooding, the central government collaborated with local governing bodies and community stakeholders to help drain affected cities and villages and minimize the impact of the waters. The government sent engineers to all regions affected by the floods. Additionally, a task force was sent to Georgetown to work with local organizations to determine how to respond most effectively to this emergency.
Several different engineering solutions were activated to provide relief, save people’s homes, and protect their communities. For example, the drainage networks in some places were clogged, which worsened the flooding. Clearing these networks helped the water drain more effectively from commercial and residential areas.
Other efforts to protect Guyanese citizens included offering sandbags and cleaning supplies to affected buildings to help prevent water from entering the lower levels and the creation of temporary shelters within affected communities. Guyana also activated its National Emergency Operations Center.
This brought the Guyana Red Cross Society and the Ministry of Health, among other organizations, into the orchestrated effort to protect the country. Relief packages were created and distributed to residents that had been severely impacted by the flooding. Pumps were installed to remove water from affected areas as quickly as possible.
How GBTI Helped a Community Recover from Recent Flooding
For its part, GBTI has also made substantial contributions to relief efforts within the country. As soon as reports of families being affected were released, GBTI approached the Charity Squatting Area to help individuals in need. The team going to the area was led by acting chief executive officer James Foster along with public relations and marketing manager Pamela Binda.
The media reports were so moving that the bank felt a duty to step up and offer assistance. Once Foster and his team made it to Charity, they noted that the destruction was more widespread than anticipated and pledged to continue helping even beyond the initial GBTI assistance. GBTI owns a bank in the Charity region and feels a special connection to that community, which is what drove the organization’s quick response.
The initial GBTI intervention consisted of a hamper handed out to families in need. This hamper included cleaning supplies to help with the process of returning to normalcy, as well as food to ensure that no one went hungry as a result of losing their home.
Many people were directly impacted by these efforts, including a mother of seven. Her home had been inundated with floodwater for several days and her husband was unemployed at the time, which made her worried about procuring key supplies. A number of families noted that the groceries were especially important and helped calm many of the anxieties they had due to the flooding.
During his time in this region, Foster met with a number of regional officers to discuss how they could move forward and continue helping the region. This team identified ways they could collaborate in the weeks and months to come, as well as potential partnerships that could increase the impact they have.
Multiple employees from the Anna Regina team, as well as members of the Region Two Administration, came out on very short notice to help their community and speed recovery efforts. GBTI remains committed to addressing the needs of the community and will continue to seek out opportunities for helping people in need and easing the burden of natural disasters like flooding.
To learn more about GBTI’s services and its efforts to serve the people of Guyana, please visit GBTIBank.com.
Featured image courtesy Bernard DUPONT | Flickr