Disaster Risk Management starts at regional level

─ Min. Harmon tells regional representatives at Regional Disaster Risk Management Conference

DPI, Guyana, Friday, February 1, 2019

At the opening of the first annual Regional Disaster Risk Management Conference, regional representatives were reminded that the subject should be of concern of all.

During brief remarks, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon emphasised the vital importance of understanding that disaster risk management begins at the regional level. He told the regional representatives;

“You and the people under you are the first responders and, in many cases, the last responders… What we envisage, is that all of the capacity to deal with a disaster will reside in the region.”

The minister further reminded the representatives of the role they play in disaster risk management.

“It is to you the people of the region look to for development; it is to you that they will look for first responses to tragedies and disasters and it is from you they will expect answers.”

In his remarks, Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan stated that the activity is;

“Very timely and relevant given the currency of the topic particularly in the area of climate change and the adverse challenges it presents to development.”

Minister Bulkan further applauded the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) for their efforts at “honing in on its mandate of ensuring our country is prepared and capable of managing disasters, both natural and man-made”.

This is the first year the conference is being hosted and is a collaboration between the Civil Defence Commission and the Ministry of Communities. It aims to engage key local government stakeholders to review, evaluate and strengthen the Regional Disaster Risk Management System. The focus of the conference was Enhancing coordination for Regional Resilience.

Since 2016, the government has revamped the National Disaster Risk Management system and has embarked on a number of activities to build capacity and resilience. In February 2019, the CDC will be rolling out the Voluntary Emergency Response Team (VERT) programme which will be executed over one year and will see 30 volunteers being trained in a number of areas. Some of these include Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis; Community Based Disaster Risk Management; First Aid Emergency Medical Response; Oil Spill Response, Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Management among others.

Anara Khan.

Images: Keno George.

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