15 May, 2006

Donations for Victims in Suriname

Thanks to Conchita Leeflang who translated the following reports that appeared in Dutch Newspapers and TV into English.

In the flood areas in Suriname help is in progress. In the Netherlands more and more organizations and individuals stand united for their former colony, where because of heavy rainfall, rivers have burst its banks. Large areas are flooded. The first emergency goods where flown into the disaster area on Tuesday. Chartered planes from private companies brought water, rice and canned goods to the Upper Suriname area. Together with he region Upper Marowijne it is considered the hardest hit area. Tens of villages are under water. Estimated 20.000 to 25.000 people lost there homes and hearts.

In Holland a Cooperation Assistance Organization(SHO) opened up an account number 797 to raise money for victims of the disaster areas. The Directors of SHO also launched an assistance program “Together For Suriname”. Private organizations are working on the exact needs of the population, and study the possibilities of how to further assist. In the coming days there will be more clarity on the magnitude of the disaster and the emergency assistance.

A few Surinamese people in Amsterdam have raised money for the victims of their country of origin. Through a local Radio station ”Tamara”, people were urged to make donations into a specific bank account. That this disaster is heavily affecting Surinamese in Holland is beyond dispute. The chairman of Stichting Vrouwen Bijlmer has said that, "Everybody is very sad, because we always considered Suriname to be a very blessed country. Now we can see that things like this can happen there.”

On the subject of evacuations, Minister M. Felisie who is the coordinator of the crisis team for the government has revealed that there are no evacuation procedures as of yet for the residents of the disaster areas. Residents who have been stricken by floods, have taken it up on themselves to seek refuge onto higher grounds. In case that becomes impossible, and the area becomes threatened due to isolation, he said the crisis team were looking at a possible evacuation. The minister admits that reports of an early warning of flooding were underestimated. On Sunday, a team of local authorities familiarized themselves with the areas. Felisie said that the residents of the interior were completely unprepared for the river to have such a rapid rise in the water level near their villages.

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