Disaster relief bonds to be established in all 10 Regions- Harmon

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In light of the alarms raised regarding the widespread natural disasters to have hit the Caribbean paired with the massive flooding which struck the interior regions by surprise just months ago, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Friday indicated that Government has moved to establish disaster relief bonds in each of the 10 regions of Guyana.

As he addressed a large gathering at the observation ceremony of International Day of Disaster Reduction 2017, Harmon emphasised the importance of Guyana being prepared to take on the effects of natural disasters.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

He noted that our country can no longer ignore threats posed by the phenomena.

While the Minister applauded the efforts undertaken by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in rushing to the aid of the rural communities affected by the flood situation, he posited that better provisions need to be put in place to ensure a more prompt response if such instances are to be repeated.

“We have to increase our efforts to institutionalise disaster preparedness in all regions of Guyana. His Excellency, the President has given us the charge to ensure that in every region, in every capital town, that we have a Civil Defence Commission bond or warehouse” he explained.

Continuing on that note, the State Minister further enlightened that this move was prompted due to the very real possibility that “the roads [could] become cut off” hindering access to other locations. As such, this measure is to ensure that “life and living can be sustained.”

Presently, the CDC is centered in Georgetown and as such, there has been a significant delay in providing disaster relief and rescue efforts to the regions in need.

Stemming from that, Government has already moved to establish a first response property bond in Region 9.

“We have already started work in some regions, in particular in Region 9 at Lethem, land has been allocated. We’ve had a plan drawn for the building and I believe during the course of 2018 that the resources will be provided for us to complete that structure and in all of the other regions where the CDC has already started training…It basically gives us a heads up, it gives us a first jump in the event that there is a disaster that takes place in anyone of the communities,” Harmon asserted.

Just months ago, interior based communities in Regions 7 and 8 were severely affected by flooding and were left waiting days for rescue and relief efforts given that the CDC was unable to quickly gain access to the affected areas.

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