Guyana to improve hazard detection and response


Guyana has begun the process of improving its detection of and response towards natural and man-made hazards by assessing its current Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS).

This assessment is being conducted by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in partnership with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative. And, this assessment is being done against regional and international standards.

“The assessment being done to get the comprehensive situation of where we are, what we’re going to do and how we’re going to implement the roadmap,” Director-General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said during an introductory meeting on Thursday.

The Director-General emphasised that Guyana does have an early warning system wherein several agencies, ministries and local government organs are involved in the response process. He, however, contended that the warning and response system includes several “fragmented elements”.

These stakeholders have been tasked with filling out a comprehensive survey of their organisation’s role in the warning and response system, as part of efforts to assess the effectiveness of the MHEWS. Subsequently, a gap analysis report and a national roadmap for Guyana will be crafted.

Lieutenant Colonel Craig highlighted that Guyana is susceptible to many natural hazards, including floods, droughts and more recently, the earthquakes in the Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo). Beyond those hazards, there is always the threat of health disasters and epidemics, oil spills and other hazards.

As such, the Director-General underscored those crucial elements of an early warning system include understanding hazards, utilising technology and integrating the use of local methods to ensure that the messages are communicated to all beneficiaries.

Guyana has a Multi-Hazard Disaster Preparedness and Response plan which has the overall aim of detailing arrangements to cope with the effects of natural and/or man-made disasters occurring in Guyana. It also seeks to assign responsibilities and to provide coordination of emergency activities connected with major disasters, in general, and specific ways.

Regional Technical Coordinator, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Danielle Evanson also explained that this assessment will enable the relevant authorities to analyse where there are gaps in Guyana’s system and subsequently, make recommendations on how they can be improved.

Discussions on improving the MHEWS will continue next week.

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