CDEMA team arrives in Guyana for flood assessment

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Officials from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Regional Security System (RSS) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) arrived in Guyana on Thursday, and held a meeting with the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) ahead of the commencement of works for the “Detailed Damage Sector Assessment” (DDSA) on Guyana’s flooding situation. 

Present at the meeting, from the CDC, were Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig; Preparedness and Response Manager, Major Salim October, Senior Preparedness Officer, Captain Lakshman Persaud, Mitigation and Recovery Manager (acting), Ms. Alana Walters and Logistics Manager, Captain Michael Andrews. 

The CDEMA team was led by Programme Manager, Joanne Persad, and also included Programme Manager Rasheed Pinder, RSS Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Officer, Keisha Linton and PAHO Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Adviser, Adrianus Vlugman. 

Thursday’s meeting, which was a planning meeting, focused on what the operations will entail, how it will be executed, and discussions on specific peculiarities that could be encountered during the execution of the assessment. 

Persad expressed CDEMA’s commitment to assisting Guyana in whatever way possible as the country continues to deal with the national disaster. 

“We want to make sure our presence here adds value not only to our work but to the next step. That’s critical for us at the end of the day,” Persad reassured the CDC officials. 

The remaining members for the CDEMA mission are scheduled to begin arriving next week and will include representatives from a number of United Nations (UN) agencies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), PAHO, as well as representatives from several Caribbean agencies.  

The DDSA will be focusing on analysis of the health, water and sanitation, infrastructure and housing, agriculture, social sector, shelter and mining.

“Those are some of the key sectors being affected,” Colonel Craig stated.  

“The DDSA will see teams going into the most affected regions, which are Two, Five, Six, Seven and Ten.”

The assessment will include analysis of the sectors to determine the extent of the damage that has occurred, an analysis of the estimated cost to recover, and look at how the recovery estimate can lead to additional support for Guyana in the rebuilding and long term recovery.  

“What the report does is it supports the access to financing, it supports projects and programmes, long term recovery and initiatives. It’s the evidence and justification for accessing aid,” Persad stated. 

The report will also look at recommendations of what systems could be put in place, if any, to mitigate future such occurrences. 

“Generally speaking we work on the principle of building back better, reducing risks and building resilience and reducing vulnerability,” Persad related. 

During the meeting the CDC gave the CDEMA officials a thorough overview of what data has been gathered so far as pertains to the flooding situation in Guyana, as well as gaps that still exist, and challenges being faced in data gathering.