$96M Disaster Management Centre to be built in Lethem
The sod was turned Wednesday for the construction of the first of its kind Disaster Management Centre in Lethem Region Nine.
This $96M multipurpose building will be used to boost the region’s capacity to provide housing for residents displaced during flooding and also includes a warehouse, training facility, a conference room and office space.
Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams along with Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon and Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig attended the ceremony.
Minister Hastings-Williams said while this centre is the first of its kind in Guyana, there are plans to construct other centres in Barima-Waini, Region One, Cuyuni-Mazaruni in Region Seven and Potaro-Siparuni Region Eight.
The Minister of State said the centre will house staff to strengthen regional capacities for disaster preparedness and response; to reduce disasters and their impact through enhanced regional capacity and cooperation, and to boost disaster management capability for sustainable regional development.
“The Regional Centre will house a warehouse to pre-position and stockpile relief supplies, a shelter to accommodate displaced persons, a training facility and offices for emergency personnel. The facility is expected to increase the efficiency of emergency response operations in the region by reducing the cost and time for shuttling relief supplies from Georgetown into the region,” Minister Hastings – Williams said.
According to the Minister of State, the Government is aware of the hazards the region face, such as flooding, droughts and bush fires and has taken a proactive approach to managing the risks through the CDC.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said this is the largest direct disaster response investment by the Government in the history of Guyana.
The CDC Director-General said the CDC will continue to work hard to enhance the National Disaster Risk Management systems in Guyana.
The CDC over the years worked with volunteers in several communities across the country to implement the Community-Based Disaster Risk Management systems and also trained community members in damage assessment, search and rescue and first aid.
“The bulk of the advancement in disaster risk management has been implemented at the Regional level as nine of the Ten Administrative Regions now have completed Disaster Risk Management Mechanisms,” Lieutenant Colonel Craig said.
Lieutenant Colonel Craig assured that the CDC will be monitoring, controlling and evaluating the construction for the centre in Lethem to ensure that residents receive the best value and benefits of that investment.
“A fully functional regional disaster management system would save lives and reduce losses and damages to properties, businesses, and infrastructure,” Lieutenant Colonel Craig said.
Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon said Guyana should be proud of the steps being taken in disaster risk management.
“The decision to build this facility was not a hard one to make because every time there is rainy season and there is flooding it becomes difficult to move materials and machinery from the capital to here,” Harmon said.
Councillor of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), Sandra Rafino welcomed the initiative and said residents lives will be improved with the construction of the facility. (Extracted and modified from Ministry of the Presidency)