Unprecedented levels of flooding struck dozens of villages in the South American country of Suriname, an already impoverished country, in April 2022. As of June 24, the water had yet to recede. The floods affected more than 3,000 households, as well as businesses and schools. Countries such as China and the Netherlands have provided some financial support, but the country still needs more help. The upcoming dry season, when the waters should recede, remains the biggest cause of hope to ease the impacts of the floods in Suriname.
Impacts of the Flooding
Increased rainfall caused the floods in Suriname over the course of 2022, leading to rivers overflowing their banks. This affected 3,000 homes in seven districts, France24 reported. Floods due to rising water levels damaged numerous farms. In a country with 26% of people living on less than $5.50 a day as of 2022, most people who have suffered damage to their homes cannot afford repairs.
Farmers in Suriname have suffered damages as well. Many lost complete fields or yields of crops, leaving them with little to no income for the foreseeable future. This has led such farmers to depend on government aid to financially support themselves. As a result of the increased need for aid from both farmers and non-farmers, the government of Suriname has looked to other countries for additional aid.
Incoming Foreign Aid
Many countries have already answered the call for help, including China, which donated $50,000 to Suriname on June 21. In addition, the Netherlands also pledged €200,000 through UNICEF, France24 reported. Even Suriname’s fellow South American country Venezuela, no stranger to economic problems of their own, provided 40,000 tons of food and medicine in an effort to help. The distribution began in the last week of June. Guyana is another country primed to send aid to Suriname in the form of essential food items.
On May 25, 2022, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) agreed to provide access to health care in some regions affected by floods in Suriname. This access to health care will be essential in the recovery process, as many people in Suriname cannot currently afford any kind of medical attention.
As Suriname awaits more aid from additional countries and international organizations, a large source of optimism is the upcoming dry season. The country hopes it could lead to the end of the large amounts of rainfall, causing the rivers to return to normal levels.
There is not much one can do to stop the flooding. However, there are many ways to help the people affected. The countries that have pledged aid are a great start and more countries look ready to do the same. Overall, it seems that the people of Suriname may soon see an end to this tragedy.
– Thomas Schneider