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13 May, 2006

Suriname Flooding: Radio Broadcasts from Holland & Suriname

Thanks to Jak Boumans who sent us the following reports from radio broadcasts in Suriname and The Netherlands on the situation on the ground in affected areas:

The crisis team of the Surinam government worries about the situation in the Southeast of the country. We get reports about the rise of the water in the rivers, minister M. Felisie, coordinator of the crisis team, said. In the disaster area in Upper Surinam river area, Prime minister Venetiaan has seen with his own eyes that there is total chaos. The water is retreating, but there is total chaos as to houses and schools; there is a lot of garbage and waste and it will be a challenge to clean up the area to make the buildings ready for use.

Venetiaan has held a a krutu, a meeting with the inhabitants of Asidonhopo and gave health indications. The distribution of food packages has started now. According to Venetiaan the people are in good spirits in order to start rebuilding their houses and their lives, but it will be more difficult that they expect. The inhabitants of Djumu, Asidonhopo en Semoisi have given priority to resuming education as soon as possible. Teachers are very creative in entertaining the children despite the muddy schools and the lack of furniture and schoolbooks.

In the Southeast of Surinam the water is starting to rise again in the area of Tapanahony-, Lawa- en Upper-Marowijneriver. Normally people do not only live on the banks of the river, but also on the small islands in the river. Venetiaan and his team have flown there today to see the situation for themselves.

In the Netherland the minister for aid has called upon people not to send their own packages, but to send money as more can be bought with it in the area. Surinam will need the blankets and tents to help the people who lost their homes and have flee to higher areas. The Dutch government is sending blankets, tents and stretches. In the meantime a Dutch crisis team with
experience of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans is on its way to assist the crisis team there.

Tomorrow there will a be a national campaign in the Netherlands for the disaster victims in Surinam. The Netherlands has many Surinam people as Surinam used to be part of the Dutch empire. These Surinam people have already started their own campaigns for help. So far no menttions have been made of people drowned.



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