The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) last evening was granted $55.7M in supplementary provisions to further enhance its disaster response mechanism and operations.
The approval of the funds came as the National Assembly discussed supplementary provisions for the CDC and other agencies that received funding from the Contingency Fund.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon faced a number of questions from members of the Opposition to which all answers were provided.
Opposition Member, Clement Rohee questioned the sum of $1.5M which was requested for stipends for the six volunteer workers who are needed due to the expanded mandate of the CDC. Rohee questioned how their responsibilities differed from those already hired, and why were they being paid stipends.
The Minister responded by stating “there are some persons who are on shift supervisors, the persons who supervise the shift, and then you have persons who actually take reports, log reports, mark maps and matters of that nature.”
Rohee then questioned the Minister on the training for Community Response Team for which the sum of$23.7M was requested. The opposition member was concerned about who will actually be carrying out the training.
“The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) will provide part of that training, the coast guard, they provide training in search and rescue, and of course the GDF medical corps will also provide some of that training in first aid and matters of that nature,” the Minister explained.
According to a GINA report, the sum of $655,000 was allocated for the payment of supplies. These include life vests, whistles, bag packs, compasses and other essentials to equip teams on completion of Community Response Team Training. The sum of $500,000 was requested and approved for the procurement of office materials and supplies needed for the preparation of reports and updating maps.
The sum of $2.5M was approved for the purchase of charters, newspapers and also printing of manuals for Community Emergency Response. The CDC’s headquarters at Thomas Lands, its warehouse at Timehri and the newly constructed Alternate National Emergency Centre at Timehri will undergo maintenance as $750,000 was approved for that purpose.
For the maintenance of four trucks and six other vehicles which include three 4×4 pickups, a mini bus and two SUVs, the sum of $1.4M was approved. Telephone charges at the Alternate National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) will be covered at the cost of $504,000.
An amount of $4.3M was approved for the presence of three security guards to be stationed at the NEOC while $5.3M was cleared for meals for personnel attached to the NEOC, working 12-hour shifts on weekends.
To provide relief to assist citizens affected by flooding or drought, $14.6M was approved. The money will be used to purchase items such as water tanks, pumps, hosee and fittings, long boots, seedlings and hampers.
Due to the extended mandate of the NEOC, an additional six volunteers were required who will be paid at a rate of $2,500 per eight-hour shift.
The sum of $23.7M was approved for training for the Community Response Team and Community Based Disaster Risk Management. The training will directly benefit 120 persons and 2000 people indirectly.
The CDC is Guyana’s lead agency for disaster management.