Several benefit from damage assessment training

Georgetown, Guyana , July 4th, 2012 (CDC) - Representatives of various governmental agencies recently benefitted from training in damage assessment from the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).

The training was held in the conference room of the CDC, Thomas Lands. It was the last capacity building session to be conducted by the agency tasked, with the national coordination and implementation activities, ahead of “Operation Flood Gate 2012”, which will test the national response system and the regional and national disaster plans.

Operations/ Training Officer Major Kester Craig stressed the need for participants to understand the definition of basic concepts such as disaster, hazard, and emergency, as it is important for a damage assessor to do accurate reporting and compilation of materials gathered in the field.

“We would not like to know that you are sent to assess a situation and you are told to compile a report… in your report you classify the incident as a disaster, whilst it is an emergency,” Major Craig said.

Participants garnered knowledge on disaster risk management in Guyana, the damage assessment and needs analysis system in Guyana, data gathering, the damage assessment process and mechanism, teamwork and the role of the military in disaster management.

Major Craig added that Guyana’s geographic location, coupled with the fact that 70 per cent of its population resides on the coast which accounts for 75 per cent of the country’s GDP,  means it remains consistently vulnerable to flooding among other natural disasters.

The two-day training will conclude today, with participants conducting a practical, in-the-field assessment of a disaster area, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.  Last Friday, the CDC concluded its two-day training seminar on Emergency Operations Centre Management, which saw participants being trained to function in such a centre. The CDC has, over the years, with support from Cabinet, worked tirelessly to build the country’s responsiveness to disaster in light of the imminent threat of climate change.

The agency continues to work determinedly to prepare a regional disaster plan for all the regions. “Operation Flood Gate 2012” will see such a plan for Region Three being tested, before its adaptation, GINA reported.