Guyana benefits from UNHCR pre-manufactured housing units

—to boost COVID-19 quarantine and isolation capacity across administrative regions.

Georgetown, Guyana – (July 15, 2020): Guyana is one of five countries in the Caribbean including DR, Haiti, Aruba and Curacao, to benefit from pre-manufactured housing units from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The international organisation handed over 48 housing units to the Ministry of Public Health through the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) to boost the regional capacity of the COVID-19 response in Guyana.

According to Cecilie Saenz Guerrero, Senior Liaison Officer of UNHCR Guyana, “the pre-manufactured units are to be used by the Ministry of Public Health for quarantine and isolation facilities in the regions. We wish to show solidarity with the host country as part of UNHCR’s global response to the COVID-19.”pre-fab-houses2

In the event that a region’s medical facility becomes overwhelmed due to increases in the number of cases, these units will provide additional space for persons who are asymptomatic and or are tested positive for the virus.

Ms. Guerrero noted that the MoPH has also expressed that the premanufactured housing units can also serve well for family members who need to self-isolate but cannot do so in their homes due to space constraints.

“This product is specifically designed for UNHCR to support its response to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR across the world, particularly for persons in need of international protection and displaced persons as well as support host countries affected by global emergencies. Hence, there is a very limited number of these units available globally and in the context of Guyana, they are therefore meant to support the MoPH in its response towards COVID-19”, Ms. Guerrero said.

To complement the donation, UNHCR undertook to train a cohort of persons from the CDC, regional engineers and health officers in the setting up of the units. The training was a twofold activity which included online theoretical while the practical setting up of two units was done in Mahaica-Berbice (Region 5). UNHCR is awaiting the arrival of protective gear to further support the MoPH.

CDC through the National Emergency Operations Center – Partner and Stakeholder

Engagement Platform (NEOC – P&SEP) formed a partnership with UNHCR along with several other international and Non-Governmental Organisations. These partnerships are geared towards the strengthening of the CDC’s technical capacities to improve its preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to benefit from lessons learned from stakeholders which supported other countries in epidemics and pandemics over time.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, “the pre-manufactured housing units will be managed by the Ministry’s Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC). As part of the practical training, units were set up in Region 5. Further, due to the spike in the number of cases in the Santa Rosa, Moruca sub-district, Barima-Waini, (Region 1), a team recently set up several units in Moruca to support quarantine and isolation needs in the sub-district.  This week, a team will be deployed to set up the housing units in Parika, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region 3)”.

Lieutenant Colonel Craig informed that the CDC will continue to deploy its team to set up more units as the need arises.  The Commission thanks the team from UNHCR for its continued support.

Ms. Guerrero commended CDC and the volunteers who participated in the training as this will add boost the skill resources to the Country towards the COVID19 response.