SOUTHCOM and Uruguay Join for Disaster Mitigation

SOUTHCOM and Uruguay Join for Disaster Mitigation

By Dialogo
February 22, 2013

“Climate change is not a movie; we are experiencing it every year in our country,” Diego Cánepa, director of the Uruguayan Emergency National System (SINAE), stated during the inauguration of a storage warehouse for disaster mitigation, donated by U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Humanitarian Assistance Program.

The warehouse, valued at $500,000, was inaugurated on February 14 at the Military Institute for Weapons and Specialty of the Uruguayan Army in Montevideo, and it is designed to store blankets, mattresses, electric generators and diverse items that are essential for emergency situations.

Cánepa, who is also the Uruguayan Assistant Secretary of the presidency, thanked SOUTHCOM and expressed his interest in continuing to work with the United States in the fields of defense and disaster cooperation.

The official also thanked the Uruguayan Armed Forces for their support to the SINAE, and he explained that it is not a coincidence that the warehouse was built on a military garrison. “We can always count on the Armed Forces (…), so in case of emergency, we will have an immediate response,” he said.

Representing the Office of Defense Cooperation from the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay, Ambassador Julissa Reynoso delivered the SOUTHCOM donation in the event. “We wish to continue working and cooperating with the [Uruguayan] Ministry of Defense and the SINAE. We are proud to fulfill our commitment and our word,” Reynoso said in impeccable Spanish.

In recent years, SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program in Uruguay sponsored training workshops for personnel in emergency centers, and also donated radios, office and audio-video equipment, as well as transportation, fire fighting uniforms, among other contributions. Some of the ongoing projects include renovations at the Maldonado Emergency Center, scheduled to start next month.