Civil Defence Commission observed International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2011

On October 13, 2011, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) observed International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2011, by hosting a youth and child friendly exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre, Sophia.

The exhibition commemorated with an opening ceremony which featured speeches and presentations from key persons such as the Director General, Colonel (retired) Chabilall Ramsarup, CDC, Ms. Dorothy Fraser, Secretary General, Guyana Red Cross Society (GRCS) and a dramatic presentation entitled “Step Up for Disaster Risk Reduction”, by the Peer Educators of Youth Challenge Guyana.

The United Nations Secretary General’s message on International Disaster Risk Reduction Day was delivered by Mr. Ian Jones, Emergency Specialist, UNICEF. In his message, the Secretary General urged everyone to make disaster risk reduction an everyday concern. He also reflected on the many efforts that were being made by children around the world and advised that these practices be emulated to decrease the fast growing vulnerability to disaster by considering how our actions increase risks and turn danger into catastrophe.

The Civil Defence Commission’s website was offically launched at the Opening Ceremony of the exhibition by Captain Kester Craig, Operations and Training Officer, CDC. Patrons were encouraged to use the new and improved user friendly interface as a means of getting more information on the Civil Defence Commission, as well as Disaster Preparedness and management in and around the Caribbean, and what agencies like the CDC are doing to reduce the vulnerabilities of persons who are at risk.

Several school children and youth attended the exhibition, representing schools such as Providence Primary, La Bonne Intention (LBI) Secondary and students from the University of Guyana. Students in attendance were particularly interested in displays by the National Drainage and Irrigation Association (NDIA), which included an automated model of the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) and the Hope Canal. Other eye-catching displays included those by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, who used an activity window to educate and entertain students. There were also remarkable displays such as the CDC Search and Rescue Centre and the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) which triggered many questions and much excitement from students. Other ‘high science’ exhibits such as those by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Centre for Education and Research Development (NCERD) drew the interest of young science lovers. The crowd favourite however, was ‘Riskland’, a special game, similar to that of snake and ladders, that teaches risk reduction. All the students flocked the area to participate in this very informative game.

As the year 2011 begins to unwind, the CDC and partner organizations wish to continue to encourage all to make Disaster Risk Reduction an everyday concern and to focus particularly on educating and preparing children and youth so as to lessen their vulnerabilities in the event of a disaster.

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