15 May, 2006

Press Release Village Chiefs

Press release Association of Native Village Chiefs in Suriname
Paramaribo 10 May 2006

Situation Trio and Wayana native communities in southern Suriname
Due to flooded farmgrounds food supply in danger

During the heavy rains of the last weekend great areas of the Trio and Wayana native communities in southern Suriname are flooded. In total there are 18 villages with a total population of about 2800 people. Practically everywhere the farmgrounds are flooded. The food supply, that mainly consists of cassave, is now in serious danger. In most villages the people fled to parts of their villages that are on higher grounds, where they are helped by family members.
The Association of Native Village Chiefs in Suriname, part of the conference of NGO that is working closely with the National Crisis Center Disaster Management, is in charge with the coordiation of the help in the afflicted native areas. All native village chiefs are part of this association, including the traditional powers of the Trio and Wayana. Via the radio-network of the Association it is attemtped to get the latest information so that an inventory can be made of the necessary help. A overview per area gives the following view:

South-West Suriname (Sipaliwini, Lucie and Corantijnrivier)

This area is inhabited by the Trio natives. The villages Kwamalasamutu, Sipaliwini Savanna, Coeroeni, Amotopo, Wanapan, Tigri, Lucie and Kasjoe 0island all have to deal with flooded farmgrounds and villages that are partyly under water. The biggest village, Kwamalasamutu (about 1000 people), located on the Sipaliwini-river is not yet flooded, but the water is still rising and has reached the emergency clinic in the meantime. Part of the inhabitants of Sipaliwini Savanna departed yesterday to Brazil to look for food.


In the communities located at the Tapanahonyriver Tepu (Trio), Palumeu (mix of Tro and Wayana) and Apetina (Wayana) more than half of the houses are flooded together with a great part of the farmgrounds. The emergency clinic of Aptina is fortunately located on high grounds and is not flooded. Apetina does not have a school. In Palumeu both the school and clinic are functional. The recently installed mini-waterpower center for the creation of electricity is however unusable. About 60 farmgronds are flooded in Tepu

According to received messages the Wayana – village Kawemhakan is completely flooded an all inhabitants left for neighbouring villages in French Guyana. About aid the from the French government there is nothing known. Also nothing has been heard from the Wayana communities Puleowime, Abunasunga and Kumahkapan.

The villages indicate that on this moment they have most need of food, drinking water and especially storage capability to store rainwater such as Durotanks. In the majority of the villages the water has receded somehwat, but it is still raining. One of the biggest problems in organising aid to the afflicted native villages are the high transport costs. The villages are only reachable via air.

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