On June 17, the official handover of a donation by Rosebel Gold Mines to the communities of Brokopondo took place at the company’s Paramaribo head office. As a result of the continuous rains of the past months, many villages in the interior of the country have been flooded and certain roads leading to these villages are in a very bad condition. The Rosebel Communities of Interest (COIs), consisting of villages in the Pikin Saramacca area in Sipaliwini and village communities in Brokopondo, have also been affected by flooding as a result of rainfall and the Afobaka discharge valves currently being open. Separate requests have been made to the company recently by various representatives of the area including District Commissioner (DC) Ludwig Mendelzoon, Gaanma Albert Aboikoni, Paramount Chief of the Saamaka community and the traditional authority of Brokopondo.
Donation flooded areas
The effects of the flooding range from food shortages and lack of clean water to a mosquito infestation and serious disruption of education. To help mitigate the situation, Rosebel decided to provide support based on requests from the communities. As such, DC Mendelzoon received a donation consisting of an aluminum boat including outboard motor, life jackets, durotanks, gasoline and food packages on behalf of the community of Brokopondo. Equipment was also donated to the Bureau of Public Health (BOG) for spraying the villages to combat the resulting mosquito infestation. The donation has a total value of SRD 700,000.
According to Rosebel's General Manager, Michiel Fleischeuer, the current initiatives from the company towards the community are a start towards structural approaches to the problems in the district. "We understand that more support is needed towards the communities. The forecast now is that the rainy weather will continue until August 2022, and for the future we will be looking at options for not only crisis management, but also working with the DC on crisis planning for Brokopondo." DC Mendelzoon, who received the funds on behalf of the district, was very grateful to the company for this contribution, "This is a very heartfelt gesture for us. We have followed the situation from the beginning and from our position now at the Commissariat we cannot do much for the affected areas without material and financial help from third parties, including Rosebel. Brokopondo will make good use of this gesture."
Two important roads for the COIs, are the Wintrip Road (road to the villages of Nieuw Jacobkondre, Baling, Misalibi and Bilawatra) and the road to Nieuw Koffiekamp. Both roads were very difficult to drive on at one time, partly due to waterlogging. After coordinating with the traditional authority from the COIs, the Rosebel Departments of Mine Operations and Mine Engineering provided assistance to make the necessary road improvements, although due to the continued rains, the road rehabilitation cannot yet be fully executed. Captain Henry Caffe of Nieuw Lombé, representative of the traditional authority, stated that in the recent period several organizations have been paying attention to the emergency in the area, but the problems have not yet been resolved, "The support from Rosebel is visible in the area, and we would like to see more, but we are satisfied with the progress made so far with the roads and the donations of resources."
Further distribution of food packages in Brokopondo, among other things, will be coordinated by the District Commissariat.