Region Four officials being trained by CDC in shelter management

Guyana Times, Guyana, September 19th, 2012 (http://www.guyanatimesgy.com/) - The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) continues its efforts to have officials trained in various aspects of disaster management, with the aim of boosting the country’s responsiveness in the event of a catastrophe.

On Tuesday, officials from Region Four began training in shelter management and others areas at CDC Headquarters, Thomas Lands. The two-day shelter management training will entail an overview of risk management, the country’s national programme, shelters, shelter administration, shelter operations and problem solving.

Additionally, at the end of the training, participants will engage in a simulation exercise, testing what they would have learnt.

CDC Operations and Training Officer, Major Kester Craig, at the opening ceremony, said the CDC, as a disaster management organisation, is pleased to conduct training for representatives of the Region Four Democratic Council.

On Thursday and Friday, the training will continue with damage assessment and in the following week, emergency operations centre management, Craig said. He added that the training is so divided that each session will comprise varying participants.

Using the 2005 floods as a point of reference, Craig informed participants that such training is necessary as the CDC recognised losses and damage and the issue of emergency response coordination are important.Region Four RDC officials at training session coordinated by CDC Operations and Training Officer Major Kester Craig

“Because of the impact of the 2005 floods, the Civil Defence Commission, in collaboration with several partners, has decided to develop plans, policies, strategies to effectively manage and coordinate in any disaster,” Major Craig said.

While a number of those have been formulated at the national and regional levels, Craig indicated that some are currently being implemented.

“In the case of Guyana, our major hazard is flooding… we are not as unfortunate as some other countries that are being battered by earthquakes, tsunamis, and those catastrophic types of hazards,” Major Craig explained. He highlighted that the training of Region Four officials was deemed necessary as the region has the highest population density, accounting for 41 per cent of the population.

“Another characteristic of Region Four that makes it wider is the fact that it is one of the three regions below the sea level… the impacts of climate change … as we are experiencing are a sea level rise and intense rainfall,” Major Craig explained. He indicated that it is, therefore, necessary to have a pool of trained personnel to mitigate the impact of any disaster.

“We may not be able to mitigate flooding, but whenever it comes we must be prepared… in such instances many persons will be displaced; therefore, the need to have shelters and persons trained to manage those shelters,” Major Craig emphasised.

He indicated that at the end of the training, persons will be identified to be further trained as trainers so that continued capacity building can be maintained across a broad spectrum, which means that each region’s capacity will now be boosted.

In recent times, the CDC has hosted a number of capacity building sessions with key stakeholders, both at the national and regional levels. Earlier this year, the national and regional plans, policies, and response mechanisms were tested at the table top exercise Floodgate 2012. The country will soon benefit from a national public education campaign on disaster risk management, which targets various groups to bring them ‘up to speed’ with what government has been doing, the plans that are in place, and what is required by them, during a disaster.
For the remainder of the year, training sessions will be done in the same subject areas in Region Six in October, Regions Seven and 10 in November, and in Region One in December.

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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