Volunteer Emergency Response Team wraps up training with assessment

─ Community-Based Disaster Risk Management described as key to alleviating effects of possible disasters in Guyana

─ VERT exposed to CBDRM tools such as mapping, transect walks, historical profiling and seasonal calendars

DPI, Guyana, Monday, April 15, 2019

The Volunteer Emergency Response Team wrapped up their Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) training programme on Sunday with the final exercise organised to test their knowledge.

The Community-Based Disaster Risk Management training has been described as key to alleviating the effects of possible disasters in Guyana. To this end, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) hosted a training programme at its headquarters to equip volunteers with the necessary skills before sending them out in the field. During the interactive session, they were exposed to CBDRM tools such as mapping, transect walks, historical profiling and seasonal calendars.

The team travelled to the Bath/Woodley Park Neighbourhood Democratic Council, West Berbice, where they were divided into teams and were tasked with using a specific CBDRM tool to assess their assigned area. The teams mapped the communities of Woodley Park, Bath Settlement and Plantation Hope while carrying out transect walks.

In an invited comment, VERT participant, Alisha Hercules explained that in addition to mapping the area, the teams will be interacting with residents to gather information on the occurrences of floods and droughts in the area. “Once we can understand how often it happened in the past, well then we can predict or try to analyse the occurrence in the future and then understanding that we can develop and implement certain preventative measures.”

Also speaking to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Judason Bess, who hails from New Amsterdam, noted that he plans to use the knowledge and skills gained from the CBDRM programme in his community. “We’re along the coast, so a major problem would be flooding, so this is a major aspect I would want to take back so we’ll be more prepared and we can have better steps put in place to buffer the effects of flooding.”

He expressed that CBDRM training “is the go-to for all areas” explaining that members of the communities are the first responders in the event of a disaster.

The VERT programme, which was launched in March, will be executed over one year and will see volunteers being trained in several 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: Ameer Sattaur.

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