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The Humanitarian Hub First Aid from Panama

Increasing climate variability and political instability, among other factors, increase the risk of catastrophe for a growing number of sectors of the population. Panama’s strategic geographic location and logistical capacity led to the installation of an emergency response center for Latin America and the Caribbean.

In November 2018, the first Regional Humanitarian Assistance Logistics Center (CLRAH), or Humanitarian Hub’s, began operating in Panama. The Hub’s main objective is to take advantage of the country’s stable economic and political environment, its reduced vulnerability to natural phenomena, and its air and maritime connectivity to ensure a better coordinated, faster, and more effective response to possible disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean.

CLRAH manages the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD), which covers 130,000 square feet distributed across three spaces operated by the World Food Program (WFP), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), and Panama’s National System of Civil Protection (SINAPROC). It also has 12,000 square feet of cold storage for supplies such as medicines and vaccines.

The CLRAH was inspired by the positive results international organizations have had addressing the region’s humanitarian emergencies from bases in Panama.

With support from Copa Airlines and Hub users, for example, Panama was one of the first countries to provide assistance and humanitarian supplies to the Caribbean islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, and the British Virgin Islands following recent hurricanes Irma and María.

Since the Hub began operating, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama has signed agreements with the Executive Directorate of the Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project (DEPM), the General Secretariat of the Andean Community (SGCAN), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Agency (CDEMA), and the Coordination Center for the Prevention of Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC) to provide cooperation and humanitarian assistance in case of disasters in countries around the region.

The project has a third phase, which includes airport infrastructure connecting to the Panama Pacifico Airport runway, at an estimated cost of ten million dollars.

 

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