Water levels in the upper Suriname area have started to recede. Water levels in some villages in the East are still rising. The situation of the displaced in these areas is serious as – unlike most displaced in the upper Suriname area – it is more difficult to flee to higher grounds in these areas. Many villages are built on small islands in the river, which are now completely flooded. A member of the NGO network in the interior reported to have registered 925 displaced families in this area, some of them sleeping in the open air.
The transportion situation seems to have improved somewhat. The main road to the south (to Atjoni) is currently being repaired. Also, all official airports in the interior are accessesible again.
More rain is expected for the days to come, but for the most affected areas no more then 30 mm of rainfall is expected.
As the number of displaced people in the eastern area is increasing, there is a need for blankets and tents.
Food packages have been delivered. Most villages in the affected areas have received a food package. The good structure of NGOs in the interior has paid off in this respect. But the need for food will remain. People have lost their crops and there will be a sustained need for food until agricultural plots are producing again.
Tomorrow 400 hygiene packages from Red Cross will arrive in Suriname. They will be distributed together with the food packages.
A daily medical surveillance system is currently in place. There is also a quick response team established that should be able to do quick epidemic investigation in the case of outbreaks. Suriname has a good system of health clinics in the interior. In the current situation, the biggest constraint is to get people to the clinics as transportation has been disrupted by the flooding. The national coordination team has requested police and military boats to assist.
Again, there are cases of diarrhea (some in combination with vomiting) reported. But there are no suspected outbreaks at this moment. There is also an increase in the number of respiratory infections reported. There is a need for quick assessments of all flooded villages.
Water and Sanitation
PAHO is involved in placing water cleaning installations in the affected areas. Clean drinking water remains an urgent need. Requests for chlorine tablets and water tanks have gone out.
Many teachers have left the affected areas for Paramaribo. If the situation continues to improve in the upper Suriname area, the Ministry of Education will try to bring them back to their villages as soon as possible. At the same time teachers from the Eastern area are still coming to Paramaribo. All in all, education is seriously disrupted. Efforts are being made to continue schooling in the schools that also serve as temporary shelters, but needless to say, circumstances are far from ideal. The Ministry of Health is also looking into options for education in the areas where displaced persons have gone.
UNDAC is conducting two assessment studies of the situation. Reports are expected tomorrow. Today an international expert in disaster relief from PAHO was added to the technical support group. More international technical support is expected to arrive the coming days.
Regional Office of the World Health Organization