Guyana: Standardised disaster damage assessment, needs analysis plan to be crafted

News and Press Release
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Georgetown, GINA, January 12, 2010

On January 15 representatives at the policy making level will be meeting to discuss future actions needed for a standard Disaster Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (DANA) system for Guyana.

The meeting will be guided by the recommendations submitted from a multi-stakeholder workshop organized by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on disaster damage assessment and needs analysis and an integrated web based management platform which began today at Regency Suites on Hadfield Street.

This three-day workshop is aimed at upgrading the national disaster management system, strengthen response mechanisms, assist in directing initial response activities and guide the recovery and rehabilitation process.

At today's workshop were Director General of the CDC Colonel Chabilall Ramsarup, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative Didier Trebucq, DANA Consultant Paul Saunders and representatives from government, private sector agencies and civil society.

The workshop will conclude on January 14 at the Centre for Information Technology of the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus where participants will receive hands on training on the Integrated Web Base Disaster Management Platform that was developed by the CDC to enhance coordination during an emergency or disaster.

Colonel Ramsarup made reference to the 2005 flood and its devastating effects as a graphic example of the impact of a natural disaster that affected a third of the country's population and caused damage equivalent to 60 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

While he was proud of the CDC's response capacity during the period, Colonel Ramsarup was optimistic of the scientific approach which the new DANA process will provide, to strengthen future damage and needs assessment endeavours.

At the national and local level, Colonel Ramsarup said the CDC has made headway in its works in areas of communications systems strengthening, search and rescue, community leader training and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

The workshop which is part of a four-year project to strengthen the country's capacity to reduce disaster risks is a partnership effort of the CDC, UNDP and the Caribbean Development Bank.

The US$2M project is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

UNDP's Representative Trebucq alluded to the importance of the workshop in the context of the many threats which natural disasters pose to the economies of the Caribbean.

He noted that during the period June 2008 to June 2009, 343 disasters occurred claiming about 14,000 lives and damage in excess of over US$57M. Floods, droughts, earthquakes and storms were just a few of the well known disasters.

In keeping with government's commitment to meet the needs of the population in the face of threats from natural and man-made hazards, the CDC has been mandated to ensure that there is a national system in place to cope with multi-hazard impacts within the framework of comprehensive disaster management.