CDC’s flood response boosted with vehicles, boats

Guyana is highly vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters such as floods, high winds, and droughts. To address these challenges, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) was established under the Office of the Prime Minister to lead, coordinate, and support Disaster Risk Management.

The CDC’s capabilities have recently been enhanced with a generous donation from the People’s Republic of China, consisting of two amphibious vehicles, four boats, and outboard engines, valued at US $100,000.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, officially received the equipment from China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Guo Haiyan, in the presence of CDC’s Director General, Colonel (Retired) Nazrul Hussain on Friday morning.

In his brief remarks, PM Phillips expressed gratitude to the Chinese Government for meeting the needs of the Guyanese people, especially with the onset of the rainy season. He noted that Guyana is extremely vulnerable to climate change and emphasised that these units will significantly aid the CDC in conducting rescue and medical operations during disasters.

“As we seek to embrace comprehensive disaster management and improve our ability in the face of all the negative effects of climate change, the People’s Republic of China has been here as a development partner, providing many of the equipment that will increase our capabilities in the areas of search and rescue,” the prime minister stated.

“…the boats will come in handy in times of search and rescue, relief operations and even in medical evacuation from those villages that are likely to be flooded…the equipment that is being donated today, will help us as a country that is vulnerable to flooding…and make us more resilient in dealing with the effects of disasters,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Haiyan highlighted the deepening cooperation between the two countries in disaster prevention and mitigation through initiatives like this.

She noted that similar support was provided to the CDC by the Chinese Government when Guyana was dealing with the severe impacts of the dry season.

“Now that the dry season has come to an end and La Nina, [the] rainy season has begun, in some low-lying areas [and in] some places in [the] hinterland, temporary flooding could be predictable and we could see that CDC is doing preparation and taking quick action,” she stated.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Encore Power Inc., Stefan Jeffrey, one of three companies that supplied the flood response vehicles, elaborated on the functionality of the amphibious vehicles.

“The vehicles are an eight-by-eight amphibious vehicle…so land and water; it’s designed to go anywhere. It’s a 950, 40 horse [power]. This one specifically is outfitted to carry a stretcher and an outboard, he told reporters.

The CDC’s plans, strategies, and policies are aligned with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), an UN-endorsed agreement within the post-2015 development agenda. This framework offers Member States concrete actions to safeguard development gains from the risk of disaster.

The Sendai Framework comprises seven targets and four priorities, coinciding with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) Comprehensive Disaster Agenda.