The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), a US based Disaster Risk Management (DRM) organization, yesterday held a Final Workshop with the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and other DRM stakeholders at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown. The workshop culminated a National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment (NDPBA) which was carried out in Guyana over a number of months. Data from a myriad of agencies such as the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was collected in order to produce findings on Risk and Vulnerability, and Exposure and Coping Capabilities when managing hazards and disasters in Guyana.
PDC’s Director of Global Operations, Dr. Erin Hughey, said that such an undertaking by the CDC to utilize her entity’s expertise was both innovative and necessary. Dr. Hughey indicated that PDC has years of global experience that can enhance Guyana’s capacity to prepare for, manage and respond to various hazards and disasters. She also said that she was very impressed with the strides made locally to alleviate many issues revolving around DRM but acknowledged that we as a nation have a far way to go. Director General of the CDC, Col. (Ret’d) Nazrul Hussain, lamented on the importance of such programs particularly when all DRM stakeholders are involved. He went on to say that hazard management is a collective effort and we must all learn from the actions of the past if we are to make consistent progress. He expressed gratitude to PDC for NDPBA and assured the participants that the Government of Guyana will appreciate the guidance offered in the final findings.
PDC, whose base of operations is in Hawaii, also provided those in attendance with a glimpse of their DisasterAware application. This app is poised to monitor and report in real-time any hazards that may face a particular area for a specific period of time. They explained that the DisasterAware platform was precisely designed for Disaster Risk Managers so that effective preparedness, response and mitigation can be achieved and maintained. Training opportunities were also showcased by the American organization so that local agencies can build capacity for the future. A report compiled by PDC is expected to be presented soon to the CDC which will outline the strengths and weak points in Guyana’s DRM.