Region One new Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee hosts first meeting in Mabaruma

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, July 09, 2017

The Regional Disaster Risk Management System(RDRMS) has officially been established in the Barima-Waini, Region One and the Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee (RDRMC) held its first meeting in Mabaruma on Friday. The meeting was co-chaired by the Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley and Deputy Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) Major Kester Craig, who handed over all the documentations and maps to the region.

The Regional Administration is required to conduct quarterly meetings to manage the regional risks and implement risk reduction measures to improve the regional preparedness and response capability to manage any hazard in the Region.

Maps identifying priority hazards and high risk areas in Region one, Regional Preparedness and Response Plan, Terms of Reference for the Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee and Standard Operations Procedures for the Regional Emergency Operations Center- documents handed over the Regional Officers on Friday

Over the last nine months, a CDC team and two Geographic Information System Specialists held several consultations across the Barima- Waini Region to gather data on hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities. Consultations were held with regional stakeholders, sub-districts stakeholders, community leaders and residents.

Following the consultations, a detailed risk profile was developed including hazard, vulnerability, and risk maps. These maps identified priority hazards and high risk areas in the Region. Additionally, a Regional Preparedness and Response Plan, Terms of Reference for the Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee and Standard Operations Procedures for the Regional Emergency Operations Centre were developed.

On the completion of the development of these documents, a tabletop exercise (testing the emergency plan) was conducted with the Regional Stakeholders to test the system and recommendations were made to improve the final documents. The final documents were handed over to the Regional Democratic Council(RDC).

These documents will help stakeholders in the decision-making process and to understand their roles and responsibilities in the system.

Regional Officials, Civil Defense Commission (CDC) members, representatives for the water and electricity companies, Guyana Defense Force, Guyana Police Force and Toshaos after the event concluded at Regional Democratic Council boardroom

This latest establishment of RDRMS brings the total to six in the country, the other five are in Regions Two (2), Three (3),Five (5), Six (6) and Seven (7). Work has also commenced in Region Nine and Ten (10) and will start in Region Eight (8) in August. The RDRMS for Region Four (4) will commence early in 2018 to complete all the Regions.

These RDRMS are being coordinated by CDC’s Planning and Training Assistant, Allana Walters and are designed and managed by CDC Deputy Director, Major Kester Craig.

In an exclusive interview Major Craig told the Department of Public Information(DPI) that, “You don’t wait for something happen to respond, if you do that you will spend more money in responding than you would have spent in risk reduction,” this is the reason the CDC has been establishing Disaster Risk Management programmes across the nation.

Major Craig explained that once all these programmes are completed by the first quarter of next year, there will be a ‘Grand National Exercise.’ This will be “to test maybe a worst case scenario impact, to see how collectively all of these systems would work.” He highlighted that there are plans to have Community Disaster Risk Management Systems (CRDMS), “so (that) communities will be able address disaster(quickly), (as) regional bodies may take some time.”

The CDC team helps regions to identify risks-hazards and then they include programmes and activities in the budget to try to reduce overall risk of the region, Major Craig explained. He also highlighted that Disaster Risk Management Systems can be used for planning, “those risk assessments will say this is the best place to build a school, to build a housing scheme, a bridge. So you use the risk assessment to inform decision making within the region.”

“Our aim is to build capacity at those levels so they could now respond and help themselves. We are seeing success because of what’s happening in Region Nine,” Major Craig noted.

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