CDC to launch volunteer corps on Disaster Risk Reduction Day

Government Information Agency (GINA), Guyana, Ocotber 2nd, 2012 - The Civil Defence Commission which is the national body tasked with disaster preparedness for the country, over the past two weeks has trained more than 70 officials from varying fields in Region Four in Disaster Risk Management.

The Officials received training in the specific areas of Shelter Management, Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis and Emergency Operations Centre Management at the Commission, Thomas Road, Thomas Lands Board room.

The Commission has in recent times intensified its work with the hosting of a number of activities that include Exercise Flood Gate 2012, along with a host of capacity building and training sessions in varying areas of Disaster Risk Management.A section of the participants during the Emergency Operations Centre Management training

Operations and Training Officer of the Civil Defence Commission, Major Kester Craig indicated that based on the feedback coming from the participants, they realised the importance of such training, especially looking back at the situation in 2005, 2006 and the entire issue of continuous flooding since 2005 in different areas, particularly taking into account the effect of sea level rise as a result of climate change.

“They recognised the need for it and they’re asking for even follow-up training…we too recognised the need to conduct follow-up training with the persons that we initially trained and to conduct exercises that will test their knowledge of what was learnt,” Major Craig explained.

He added that at the end of the training, there was a final exercise which was the emergency operations centre management simulation, which drew on the knowledge of the other two areas of training.

He noted that when the simulation was done then it was realized how unprepared persons were for emergency situations such as a flood. Craig said they realised the importance of systems being enacted which would include data on agriculture, population, schools, health centres and their capacity amongst other things.

Further, that exercise opened the eyes of the participants as to the importance of such training and what their roles should be in disaster management.Participants of the Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis training

“Definitely the training was successful and the participants were very enthusiastic for the training…they are hoping that we go back into the region and invite them to other training sessions…we also identified personnel with the capacity to actually make instructors so that we can have them conduct these training within the regions which decentralises our responsibility and at the same time promotes disaster risk management at a faster pace so it can go across the region,” Major Craig explained.

Disaster Risk Reduction Day

Craig giving insight on what to expect from the Commission this year for DRR day indicated that a symposium is planned at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, and its Volunteer Arm will be officially launched.

“We have a volunteer corps which comprises of many skilled young professionals who are dedicated to the fight against disaster risk management…these individuals are exposed also to training and augment the work of the commission,” Major Craig said.

He added that persons desirous of becoming volunteers and lending their professional expertise to the work of the commission can uplift application forms at the Commission’s office during working hours, or can obtain same on DRR day at the Conference Centre.

Disaster Risk Reduction day 2013 is being observed under the theme ‘Women and girls- the invisible force of resilience’.