Saturday, May 4, 2013

Strengthening disaster response in Nicaragua

José Adán Silva in IPS: Nicaragua, which is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding, is confronting them with prevention measures and community drills and training in high-risk areas. The army’s civil defence unit and different government agencies began to put in place a permanent plan for safety, prevention, preparedness and assistance in the most vulnerable areas in 2010, Colonel Néstor Solís, the head of civil defence, told IPS.

The programme has been complemented with legal action and educational campaigns aimed at blunting the impact of natural catastrophes in high-risk areas that are home to 2.1 million of Nicaragua’s six million people, according to the risk map drawn up by the civil defence unit, which forms part of SINAPRED, the national system for disaster prevention, mitigation and attention.

Commander Javier Amaya, director of the national school for fire fighters, said courses to “strengthen local capacities to confront and reduce the risk of disasters” are organised with support from the army’s humanitarian rescue battalion and ecological battalion, which were created to operate in the case of natural catastrophes and emergencies.

The population of the Pacific coastal region, the most heavily populated and flattest part (with the exception of a string of volcanoes) of this impoverished Central American country, receive instruction on what to do in the case of earthquakes, volcanoes or tsunamis; people along the eastern coast are trained to deal with hurricanes and flooding; and people in central Nicaragua, a landscape of high mountains and large rivers, are instructed in what to do in the case of flooding, landslides and forest fires....

US Navy photo of the impact of 2007's Hurricane Felix on the eastern coast of Nicaragua


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