Nicaraguan Humanitarian Network and Civil Defense prepare for natural disasters
May 27, 2011
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (May 27, 2011) – Last Thursday, May 26, members of the Humanitarian Network (Red Humanitaria), the Executive Secretary of SINAPRED (National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Attention) and Civil Defense Leader, Mario Perezcassar, with the aim of establishing a relationship between SINAPRED and the Humanitarian Network. In addition, the group proposed a contingency plan for the approaching rainy season, and discussed the role of each Network member in supporting a humanitarian response. The Humanitarian Network is made up of 43 international organizations, United Nations agencies, donors and SINAPRED.
According to the Nicaraguan Civil Defense, last year’s rainy season left 71 dead as a result of severe flooding in 15 departments of the country. Of the 18,277 families affected, 16,842 suffered damage to their homes. If a period of similar or greater intensity occurs, it is estimated that 93,156 families will be affected.
In Nicaragua, there are over 1,000 critical locations where intense rains have caused loss of human life and infrastructural damage. More than 61,600 families are at risk of severe flooding and some 32,380 families could lose their homes as a result of rains.
This year, with the goal of mitigating these affects, Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua, as part of the Humanitarian Network, assisted the discussion to define the role of each member. The main issues discussed prior to presenting the plan included grouping organizations and agencies into work commissions according to their area of expertise. Also discussed was how the Network members, according to their strengths, would provide resources and information to support the unified humanitarian response.
Based on the critical sites presented by General Perezcassar, participating organizations will provide information about those areas where they have existing disaster-related projects, in order to ensure a timely and coordinated response to each population.
Past experience has shown the importance of quickly mobilizing the Nicaraguan army into disaster prone areas in order to provide a timely response. Experience has also determined the need for communication and coordination between SINAPRED and disaster-response organizations to improve.
Among the commissions defined in SINAPRED are the Natural Phenomenon, Special Operations, Education and Information, Security, Health, Environment, Infrastructure and Consumer Defense.
According to Mrs. Ivonne Velásquez, National Disaster Response Advisor for Nicaragua, “Coordination among the members of the Humanitarian Network and SINAPRED is a fundamental step in planning a humanitarian response. Our main objective is to contribute to SINAPRED’s efforts to mitigate the effects of disasters, save lives and alleviate human suffering.”
Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua is evaluating the immediate and long-term disaster mitigation needs, in addition to coordinating with SINAPRED and the Humanitarian Network. Through its Disaster Response program, Habitat provides a variety of services for short and long-term disaster preparation and mitigation, helping communities in disaster-prone areas to decrease their vulnerability to future threats.
For more than ten years, Habitat for Humanity has worked in disaster response programs around the world, helping low-income families to rebuild after disasters. Habitat’s disaster response programs focus on housing needs that arise from natural disasters, offering technical support, program design and implementation and disaster response policies, protocols and procedures.
Photos: Mrs. Ivonne Velásquez, National Disaster Response Advisor for-Nicaragua, Mr. Frank Matus Aguirre, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua (HFHN) and Mr. Jaime Mok, HFHN Disaster Response Coordinator, during the coordination meeting with SINAPRED.
About Habitat for Humanity Latin America and the Caribbean
Habitat for Humanity first opened its doors in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 1979, and has since helped more than 100,000 low-income families to access adequate housing in the region. Headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Latin America and Caribbean regional office coordinates the efforts of 16 national organizations, as well as unique partnerships throughout the region. For more information, visit habitatlatino.org.
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