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IAEA and PAHO Join Forces to Assist Guyana in Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Response

Guyana has become the first country in the Caribbean to benefit from an IAEA expert mission on ‘Emergency Preparedness and Response to Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies’, specifically designed for new IAEA Member States in the Caribbean area. The expert mission, which took place this August, was jointly organised by the IAEA and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). It aimed to help Guyana to develop national capabilities to respond to radiological emergencies, and outlined the actions necessary for the preparation of a draft national radiation emergency plan. The mission was supported by an IAEA regional technical cooperation project[1], in parallel to support provided the PAHO\WHO Biennial Plan.

Over the course of the five day mission, two IAEA experts conducted a workshop which included a series of lectures on best practices and procedures on Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), and a table-top exercise for the participants. The workshop brought together several important stakeholders, including Guyana’s Ministries of Public Health and Public Infrastructure, the Environmental Protection Agency, Civil Defence Commission, Guyana Fire Service, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Maritime Administration and the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department, as well as companies using radiation sources.

Mr Raul Dos Santos from the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN) and Mr Michal Makovník, Inspector of Nuclear Safety from the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic delivered the workshop lectures. (Photo: PAHO/WHO Guyana)

The workshop, developed by the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre,  identified strengths in the areas of national civil protection, technical capabilities and human resources. A set of recommendations was provided to relevant national organizations to strengthen national Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) capabilities for radiation emergencies.

The mission has provided a useful starting point for the development of Guyana’s national radiation emergency plan in line with PAHO/WHO’s Biennial Work Plan (BWP) 2016-2017.The work plan activities aim to promote and implement International Health Regulations in Guyana. IAEA support for EPR in Caribbean assistance includes further expert missions to help the country carry out their own assessment of national EPR capabilities using the IAEA’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Information Management System , and to draft a national radiation emergency plan. These missions will also provide additional training and will support the establishment of a programme of drills and exercises covering all EPR procedures at different response levels.

IAEA, PAHO and the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) are working in partnership to assist Caribbean countries in the development of their national capabilities to respond to radiological emergencies.

 

[1] RLA/9/082 “Establishing and Strengthening Sustainable National Regulatory Infrastructure for the Control of Radiation Sources”

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