Standing by its motto, ‘To improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity’, the Guyana Red Cross Society and its partners launched two programmes last Wednesday to promote disaster resilience in 15 communities, and to improve water and sanitation in Region One.
Through financing from the Canadian Red Cross and CIDA, 15 communities (not yet identified) in Guyana will benefit from the Caribbean Community Resilience to Disaster Risk project. The project would be executed over a three-year period and five communities would be targeted each year.
According to the Canadian Red Cross and CIDA representative, Heather Fehr, the project seeks to draw together key members of society to help limit damage and emergency on peoples’ lives.
It was revealed that the project would enable people living in vulnerable communities to understand the hazards in their environment, adopt behaviours that would make their homes safer and prepare for disasters.
Caribbean countries, Jamaica and Dominica, have also been selected to benefit from this project based on past and planned activities related to disaster preparedness across the region.
At the regional level, the project will undertake to research, develop, and pilot a Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction methodology for targeting vulnerable communities.
In addition, it would contribute to overcoming the lack of consolidated knowledge by establishing a Red Cross Disaster Risk Reduction Reference Centre in Barbados.
At the state and community levels, the three countries that are direct beneficiaries will collaborate with National Disaster Management Agencies (in Guyana’s case the Civil Defence Commission) and other partners in the implementation of the Caribbean Community Resilience to Disaster Risk.
Meanwhile, through financial assistance from the European Union (EU) and French Red Cross, 6,400 Amerindians will have sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, and enhanced hygiene knowledge and practices in Region One.
The Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Conditions for Hinterland Communities Project Phase 11 costs $386M, with $289M being provided by EU and $97M by the French Red Cross.
The first phase was conducted between January 2008 and September 2010 in 30 communities in Regions One and Nine.
According to Geert Heikens, EU Ambassador to Guyana, these hinterland projects are costly as there is low population density in remote areas.
This project focuses on the protection of water sources (sealed wells with basic hand pumps, springs, and rainwater harvesting systems), safe and increased capacity of water storage.
It is anticipated the project would help to stem the incidence of diarrhea especially among children by focusing on improved infrastructure at households and in schools. Emphasis would also be placed on awareness of contracting communicable diseases.
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