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Guyana: International day for disaster reduction focuses on persons living with disability

Source(s):  Government Information Agency (GINA)

Georgetown - International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) will be observed on October 13, and to mark the event, the National Commission on Disability (NCD) in collaboration with the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) held an observance on Friday, bringing awareness of disaster reduction and persons living with disabilities.

The focus of IDDR 2013 is on one billion people or one-fifth of the world’s population living with some form of disability. The theme for this year’s event is “Living with Disability and Disasters”.

Colonel (ret’d) Chabilall Ramsarup, Director General, Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Doodmattie Singh, Deputy Chief Education Officer, Beverly Pile, Executive Secretary of the NCD, Ian Jones, Emergency specialist, UNICEF and Major Kester Craig, of the CDC at the observance of International Day for Disaster Reduction

CDC’s Director General Colonel (retired) Chabilall Ramsarup, pointed out that when disasters occur, persons living with disabilities are the most disadvantaged, and explained that IDDR will focus on how to cater for this category in a disaster.

This year’s theme is the third area focused on under the Step up initiative that was developed in 2011, and which focuses on a different group of partners every year leading up to the World Conference for Disaster Reduction in 2015. These groups are children and young people (2011), women and girls (2012), people living with disabilities (2013), and the ageing population (2014).

Major Kester Craig, CDC’s Operations and Training Officer also said that persons living with disabilities are among the most excluded in society, and their plight is magnified when a disaster strikes. More often, their contribution to helping communities prepare for and respond to disasters is also often overlooked. These individuals are also the most venerable because they may not be able to respond in a timely manner during a disaster hence, special focus should be given to them.

The IDDR started in 1989 with approval of the United Nations General Assembly which views it as a means of promoting global disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

Art and Essay competition

Meanwhile, the NCD launched its In-School Art and Essay competition as a part of IDDR observances. The competition is coordinated by Anita Wilson, a volunteer of the CDC volunteer corps to allow children to highlight key considerations for persons living with disability in disaster risk reduction.

It comprises a written essay and/or an art piece depicting the effects of flooding on the disabled. Flooding was the topic chosen, because it is the biggest natural disaster that Guyana faces. The participants are given two questions to choose from; how are persons with disabilities affected by disasters caused by flooding? And what actions can be taken to reduce impacts of persons with disability during disasters caused by flooding?

The participants may seek assistance from their teachers or relatives but the final piece presented must be theirs. They are asked to submit one piece for either category; however they can enter both categories.

The art category requires a drawing or painting that is relevant to the above mentioned questions. The contestants must submit their original piece which should be created using crayons, pencils, markers or paint.

The essay category has a word limitation of 700 words and all essays must be original and unpublished.

The competition is open to students of all age groups that attend schools or institutions that cater for disabled persons.

All finished pieces must be submitted by Friday, November 22, 2013.

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  • Publication date 13 Oct 2013

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