Friday, May 25, 2012

Community drills part of Cuba's top-notch disaster response system

Patricia Grogg in IPS: A well-oiled prevention system that involves the entire country, from the highest spheres of government to the most isolated rural community, makes Cuba one of the best-prepared countries in the world when it comes to preventing deaths and mitigating risks in case of disasters.

Two-day community drills begin to be carried out a few weeks before the start of the Jun. 1-Nov. 30 Atlantic hurricane season, under the name Meteoro.  In the simulations run by the Civil Defence System, the authorities and ordinary Cubans rehearse their roles in prevention and evacuation plans to be implemented in case of disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, fires or epidemics.

On Sunday, May 20, the western province of Pinar del Río rehearsed measures to be taken in case of flooding, while the central province of Cienfuegos held an evacuation drill to prepare for a possible ammonia leak. And mountainous regions in the east of the country practiced what to do in case of a major earthquake.

"This keeps us free of worry, because we know what we have to do in case of danger," a nurse commented to IPS during an evacuation drill at the América Arias Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, which is located just 500 metres from the coast in Havana.

..."Our basic premise is to guarantee people’s safety," said Osmany Galbán, director of the 280-bed hospital which serves more than 300,000 people in four Havana municipalities. Because of its proximity to the sea, the hospital is at risk of flooding during hurricane season....

A Cuban television tower wrecked by Hurricane Ike in 2008, shot by Toledo Ramirez, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

No comments: