CDC engages Local Govt Authorities on emergency flood preparedness

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The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) yesterday hosted an Emergency Flood Preparedness Meeting with Regional Chairpersons, Regional Executive Officers and Town Councils from most of the Administrative Regions and Towns in Guyana. This virtual meeting was aimed at presenting climate information to meet the needs of stakeholders and to communicate uncertainties associated with the climate predictions for the upcoming rainfall season.

The climate and weather predictions were produced by the Hydrometeorological Office, a facet of the Ministry of Agriculture. The Hydromet Service reaffirmed predictions from last week’s meeting with the CDC where such information was shared in detail.

CDC’s Preparedness and Response Manager, Major Salim October, provided the opening remarks for the session. He assured those in attendance that the significance of the information shared is monumental. Major October advised all local government arms to use the knowledge in tandem with their disaster plans, and to ensure that all stakeholders are consistently updated if there are any changes.

The Climate Outlook was presented by Hydromet’s Mr. Komalchand Dhiram, a specialist meteorologist. He reiterated the predicted climate and weather patterns for the December 2021 to February 2022 rainy season, indicating that above normal rainfall is expected in most regions across Guyana with potential flash flooding. The participants were then allowed to direct their questions relevant to the accuracy of the impending weather pattern, to which Mr. Dhiram gave certain assurances.

Major October then presented the Mitigation & Preparedness Capacity Assessment and CDC’s Reporting Requirements to the participants. In this segment, he allowed those present to complete a form that asked several questions about their disaster preparedness. There were sections on what steps have been taken thus far to prepare for the upcoming rainy season; as well as any shortcomings that they may have and what can be done to mitigate those shortcomings. The variety of operations and obstacles were then addressed and solutions were proposed. The feedback from CDC and the stakeholders proved fruitful, not just for this venture but perpetually.

Captain Lakshman Persaud, Senior Response Supervisor at CDC, then portrayed all the Impact Reporting Tools and Procedures. He outlined the specific and intricate forms that should be completed when reporting any impact. The forms cater to household impacts, livestock and crops affected, and the severity of impact coupled with any steps taken to adapt to the impact. Stakeholders were encouraged to share the forms with their constituents so that the data given to CDC’s National Emergency Monitoring System (NEMS) can be accurate and efficiently addressed.

The meeting came to a close after further questions were fielded. Participants confirmed that their level of preparation for the rainy season has evolved, despite the shortcomings beyond their control. The CDC is urging all residents to be vigilant this season and to prepare for any eventuality, while using the guidelines provided by their respective local authorities. Persons are also encouraged to monitor the weather reports and make impact submissions to their local government bodies or NEMS on 600-7500.