Red Cross launches water/sanitation, disaster management projects

The Guyana Red Cross Society has partnered with the French and Canadian Red Cross societies and the EU to launch two initiatives for water and sanitation and comprehensive disaster management aimed at boosting the lives of hinterland residents.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the Red Cross teamed with the French Red Cross and the European Union to launch the second phase of the $386M Water and Sanitation Project in the Hinterland Communities in Region One on Wednesday. The project will be implemented over a period of 45 months in 28 communities in the Mabaruma and Moruca districts. The first phase was implemented in Region Nine and Mabaruma.

The project is expected to improve access to safe drinking water by increasing the region’s capacity for water storage. “It will also enhance the hygiene knowledge and practices of the residents by disseminating messages of environmental management and cleanliness through various schools and community based promotional activities,” GINA said, adding that 6,400 residents are expected to benefit.

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said he was pleased that the Red Cross has focused on the hinterland as it is often overlooked by city dwellers. He also said the project compliments other projects government has initiated in the area such as the Secure Livelihood Programme that was piloted in Region One where the cash economy is not very well developed. Government has also implemented a programme for the provision of electricity for hinterland homes.

Hinds, who is performing the duties of president, also said that government is making arrangements to introduce Information Technology in hinterland areas through the One Laptop per Family programme where internet centres will be built in 160 villages. Hinds extended gratitude to the Red Cross for its works; singling out its response during the recent flood in Region Nine for special mention.

In his address, EU Ambassador to Guyana Geert Heikens said that the water and sanitation project will contribute significantly to the development and the wealth of Guyana. He noted that water and sanitation in hinterland communities are well linked and the EU is happy to contribute to the project.

The second project launched was the Caribbean Community Resilience to Disaster Risk in collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross Society. It is being funded by the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency. According to GINA, this project is being initiated in Jamaica, Dominica, Barbados and Guyana and is aimed at increasing and enhancing the countries’ sustainability through comprehensive disaster management.

The three-year project seeks to strengthen regional and national and community level management and coordinated response to natural and technical hazards and climate change,” the release said. It will provide community disaster response team training, national intervention teams training and also assist in the development of disaster plans for communities and families. This project will be implemented in 15 communities, five communities per year, and will raise awareness of disaster reduction in 19, 500 people.

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