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12 May, 2006

Online reports from Dutch sources, May 12th

The Suriname - centered website, Waterkant.net reports that aid has been hampered by physical and cultural factors.

According to the chairman of the Disaster Coordination Center, Jerry Slijngaard, goods that are not welcome in one place, are very much needed somewhere else. The impression that the aid plan Fayawatra isn't working is not because of the organisation. The victims of the floods have diverse preferences for goods.

According to Slijngaard, transportation is the biggest issue. For example, the Fernandes bakery offered to donate 20,000 loaves of bread, but this is difficult since roads are flooded and the costs of using planes is very high.

The Head of State, Ronald Venitiaan, is expected to visit the afflicted areas shortly. According to the NGOs in the area his visit is very much looked forward too.

The site further reports that the level rivers are going down, and that some houses are now visible. This ought to make the delivery of goods and personnel easier.

The Surinamese newspaper, De Ware Tijd, reports that the price for the Falawatra program is estimated at 70 million Surinamese dollars, wich adds up to about US$ 26 million. According to President Venitiaan only 10 million Surinamese dollars (about US$ 3.5 million) have been donated. According to the newspaper, this initial estimate is probably only going to go up.
The water levels in at the Tapanahony area, are still rising.

Furthermore, the newspaper also reports that several villages have evacuated to French Guyana and Brazil, in search of food, because they simply don't have anything left. Even if the floodwaters recede, the food situation isn't going to improve soon after that, because of the thick layer of mud that will be left behind.

From the Netherlands, both Queen Beatrix and Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende have sent telegrams saying that they are thinking of Suriname

The Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reports that several villages have not been receiving help. One villager reports that a delegation stopped by and only gave them water, no food. Another village has yet to receive any aid. Furthermore, though the situation in Upper-Suriname seems to be improving, the situation in the south and the east is getting worse.

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