The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) hosted a meeting on Wednesday to select a sub-committee to start planning an exhibition to observe International Disaster Risk Reduction Day on October 13.
CDC Director General Colonel (retired) Chabilall Ramsarup told the Disaster Risk Reduction Coordination Platform meeting that the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Step up for Disaster Risk Reduction: making children and young people partners for disaster risk reduction.’
In 1989, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) set October 13 for observations to be held annually to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, which includes disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.
According to a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA), in keeping with the theme, the UN/ISDR released a children’s charter for disaster risk reduction which entails five key areas: schools must be safe and education must not be interrupted; child protection must be a priority before, during and after a disaster; children have the right to participate and to access the information they need; community infrastructure must be safe, and relief and reconstruction must help reduce future risk; and disaster risk reduction must reach the most vulnerable people.
Ramsarup also said the worst disaster Guyana has experienced is flooding where schools are used as evacuation centres, which breaches the UN policy that education must not be interrupted. To remedy this he said greater collaboration between the CDC and Ministry of Education will be undertaken. “Children are the most vulnerable in any disaster and in disaster preparation management they are often times overlooked, however this is in the process of being corrected,” he said.
The CDC, in recognising the importance children and youth play in the fight to reduce risks and vulnerabilities and, in keeping with the planned celebrations, has designed an exhibition that will be framed as a one-day awareness session focused on children in the fight for disaster risk reduction.
In this regard, the CDC will be working with agencies that have been elected to the sub-committee that play a key role in the lives of youth to execute the exhibition, GINA said.
They are: the Ministry of Health, Guyana Fire Service, United Nations Development Programme, Guyana Red Cross Society, Environmental and Protection Agency, Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development and GINA.