Panama set to open Humanitarian Hub for the Americas
A new Humanitarian Hub is set to open in Panama that will provide critical support to vulnerable communities across the Americas region.
Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean a significant portion of the population is exposed to a wide range of natural disasters including earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes. The region is also experiencing an increase in disasters, partly driven by changing weather patterns and climate change.
The effects of climate change across the Americas is exacerbated by the socio-economic and geographical features of many of the countries.
However, unlike many countries in the region, Panama is far less exposed to natural disasters, and its location connecting the Atlantic and Pacific offers a key strategic position to assist during emergencies.
The Government of Panama and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) have constructed a Regional Logistics Centre for Humanitarian Assistance, a Humanitarian Hub, with the aim of increasing the capacity of governments and international agencies in the region to respond to natural disasters and other humanitarian events.
Panama’s Humanitarian Hub will enable greater efficiency in humanitarian assistance; better coordinated and more efficient operations during emergencies are critical as they increase the number of lives saved.
In the Hub aid workers, humanitarian agencies and national and international organisations can join forces to increase resilience in the region.
Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, Vice-President and Chancellor of the Republic of Panama commented:
“The Regional Logistics Centre for Humanitarian Assistance, the continent’s first humanitarian hub, will place Panama at the centre of humanitarian services for the region. The main humanitarian actors will be able to coordinate their actions and send aid from a single point in a prompt and effective way”
The Hub will also be home to the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot, managed by the World Food Programme, as well as many other humanitarian agencies for the region such as the International Federation of the Red Cross.
Roberto Carrillo Castillo, UNOPS Country Programme Manager in Panama added:
“Panama has transformed a space once dedicated to military purposes into an area where logistics and humanitarian responses are combined to save lives. The entire region will benefit from this”
Panama’s geographic location with shipping routes converging in the Panama Canal will allow for a steady flow of supplies to and from the region. Similarly, their existing transport infrastructure presents a range of ways to move supplies easily via land and air.
The Hub will be located at the Panama Pacifico International Airport and will benefit from direct access to the runway.
Juan Carlos Varela, President of the Republic of Panama, spoke of the Hub:
“This center will be a special administrative entity of the Panamanian State that will serve Central America and the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean countries. The logistics centre will facilitate receiving, storing and redistributing items and equipment, as well as mobilize human resources for an efficient management of relief and humanitarian assistance in the face of national and international emergencies that may occur due to natural or other effects”
The Hub is due to open in September.
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Image Credit: UNOPS