The Deputy Governor’s Office explained that insufficient or lack of funding is the main reason why all of the issues facing the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) could not be remedied.
For years it has been stressed that the National Emergency Operations Centre is in dire need of repair and each year more problems are reported. However, in the Annual Deputy Governor’s report the precarious state of the building was listed as one of the Office’s main challenges.
The document explained that insufficient funds delayed remedial measures: “As a result of the reduced budgetary allocation, some key capital projects such as the construction of a new National Emergency Operations Centre could not be advanced.”
For more than two years the deteriorating condition of the National Emergency Operations Centre has been highlighted by the Director of Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Sharleen Dabreo.
The DDM Director announced via a report that was tabled in the House of Assembly that a paper highlighting the issues being faced with the existing NEOC Building was prepared and submitted to Cabinet for review and approval of the funds necessary for the construction of phase one of a new building. The Director stated that although the paper was accepted and funds approved, there was no mention of the money in the 2013 Draft C budget.
Dabreo lamented the condition of the facility disclosing that the building continues to be a challenge as it is structurally unsafe and minor repairs/fixes are constantly being carried out to sustain what is left of its structural integrity.
She further mentioned that the DDM staff has had to put in place extra measures to ensure the safeguarding of electrical wiring and other essential office equipment due to the presence of many pests and rodents. “Although, exterminators have been called in on a few occasions to assist with this problem, there are still instances when the rodents manage to enter the building and die. Officers have been relocated and crammed into other offices due to the unbearable stench of the dead rodents,” Dabreo disclosed.
The DDM Director added: “Though the DDM continues to cope with the situations presented on a daily basis, in order to carry on the functionality of the department, the problems being faced continually challenge the health and safety of the officers.”
The NEOC is physically located at DDM, MacNamara, and the DDM staff operate the NEOC during periods of declared emergencies and disasters. The present facility has served the Territory well during previous disasters.