On August 17, Panama sent 15 tons of humanitarian aid to Haiti for the people affected by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the Caribbean country.
The shipment, which included dry food, medicine, water, and tents, departed on a Chilean Air Force flight that took off from the Panamanian National Air and Naval Service (SENAN) terminal at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, the Ministry of the Presidency said in a statement.
Panamanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Erika Mouynes announced on Twitter the implementation of rapid response protocols from the Regional Logistics Center for Humanitarian Assistance (CLRAH, in Spanish). Located at the Panama Pacífico International Airport, the CLRAH was launched in 2018 as a logistics hub to support response operations of national systems and international organizations that specialize in humanitarian assistance, turning Panama into a logistics disaster relief hub for the region. The CLRAH is one of six facilities of its kind worldwide and the only one to operate in the Americas, the Ministry of the Presidency said in the statement.
“This logistics platform will be receiving, handling, storing, and redistributing all the international aid destined for #Haiti. Through diplomatic notes, #Panama has notified the countries of the region that are part of the @OEA_oficial [Organization of American States] and the @sg_sica [Central American Integration System] that it will act as receiver and collection point for international cooperation for the Haitian people,” the minister said.
The CLRAH hosts warehouses of the Panamanian National Civil Protection System (Sinaproc), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD). The latter stores equipment and humanitarian supplies from 20 partners, including U.N. agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies.
Plastic tarps, tool kits, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, blankets, personal protective equipment, plastic buckets, collapsible water jugs, and water purifying tablets are some of the disaster relief products stored at the CLRAH.
Alberto Sierra, CLRAH executive director, told Diálogo that international users are currently coordinating their operations to address the emergency in Haiti.
“The IFRC is initially mobilizing cargo that was pre-positioned in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as preparing the coordination of various humanitarian flights from its hub in Panama,” Sierra said. Also, on August 17, the IFRC coordinated the deployment of a technical logistics response team to Haiti.
For its part, UNHRD was in the coordination phase of its disaster response. “UNHRD, through its partners, is planning a 40-metric ton charter flight to Haiti,” Sierra said.