CDC urges local govt bodies to put disaster response systems into action

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Flooding in Kwakwani (Photo: Junita Thom facebook)

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) is re-emphasising the responsibility of Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, Community Development Councils, Village Councils and Regional Democratic Councils in conducting assessments and reporting and providing support to residents affected by floods and other natural hazards.

Continuous flooding in communities across Guyana has reinforced the need for these bodies to utilise the training and plans provided by the CDC over the years.

The CDC, with support from the UNDP and IDB was able to improve the National Disaster Risk Management System (DRM) which has the Regional Disaster Risk Management Systems as critical components. This allowed each region to develop its own DRM system in keeping with the wider national mechanism. Plans and systems have been developed and implemented in all ten administrative regions.

Training was conducted with regional bodies in the areas of Community Based Disaster Risk Management, Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis, Shelter Management and Emergency Operation Center Management in an effort to prepare them to act as first responders.

During the trainings, participants were engaged in tabletop exercises to test how they would operationalise the system in the event of flooding and other events.

CDC Director General, Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig pointed out that now is the time for these bodies to take responsibility as it relates to conducting damage assessment and providing support to communities affected by flooding.

Preparedness and Response Manager, Major Salim October said often times, the NDCs and CDCs refer the situation to the RDCs without any initial assessment.

Under the Regional Disaster Risk Management System, there is a Disaster Risk Management Committee chaired by the Regional Chairperson and includes programme heads, representatives from the Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Fire Service, Guyana Police Force, Local Chamber of Commerce, NGOs, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and other agencies operating in the region.

The CDC has confirmed that as torrential rain persists across Guyana, all ten Administrative Regions have been hit by floods.