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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (February 11, 2005) – Guyana is in a highly vulnerable stage as it recovers from the deadly floods and there is much work to be done, says a US-based humanitarian expert who assessed the extent of the flood damage during a recent visit to the South American nation.

Irina Wunder, who helps manage Counterpart International's Community Humanitarian and Assistance Programs, said the work must continue to safeguard the health of all Guyanese, following meetings with the President, the Opposition Leader, the Ministry of Health, the Civil Defense Coordination Centre, CARICOM, diplomats, local Guyanese and international development organizations.

Wunder joined Guyanese-American journalist and businessman, Bobby Vieira of Caribbean Cargo and an international team of reporters, on a North American Airlines/Le Meridien Pegasus-sponsored flood relief visit this past weekend.

The international media team brought with them urgent food supplies and pharmaceuticals for cases of leptospirosis which has already claimed several lives in the wake of the tragedy.

Wunder, who manages humanitarian response programs that seek to help communities help themselves by delivering essential material assistance and running sustainable development programs, said Counterpart has identified some of the urgent needs on the ground as well as implementing partners to help with future distribution of life-protecting pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.

Counterpart is coordinating its response through the United States Agency for International Development, several NGOs in Guyana's Diaspora in the United States, and the office of Guyana's Ambassador to Washington and to the Organization of American States.

Counterpart's humanitarian programs operate in several countries and help vulnerable peoples with both short and long term assistance projects.

During her visit, Wunder reports being pleasantly surprised by Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo's command of the Russian language.


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