Hurricane Sandy left its mark on the Dominican Republic in 2012 but the country is determined to strengthen its future resilience.
By Humberto Jaime
PANAMA, 26 December 2013 –
The Dominican Republic has adopted a new ‘National Plan for Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management’.
The President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, approved the plan that will define policy guidelines and basic principles for public and private institutions and civil society organizations.
The plan focuses on the implementation of programmes that reduce disaster risk, ensure the safety of citizens and protect the country’s economic, social, environmental and cultural heritage.
The National Dominican Emergency and the Civil Defence Commission prepared the plan, which fits within the country’s existing instruments that guide risk prevention and mitigation, response preparations and disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction. These include the: Risk Management Policy; National Risk Management Plan; and National Plan for the Reduction of Seismic Risk.
Significant support for the new plan came from the National Technical Committee for the Prevention and Mitigation of Risks and the Interagency Vulnerability Assessment to natural hazards, which was led by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Regional Office for the Americas in 2010.
The UNISDR-supported evaluation highlights the country’s opportunities for disaster risk reduction, identifies several challenges, and provides recommendations to strengthen the resilience of this Caribbean country.
The assessment was a milestone in terms of the availability of studies on hazards, vulnerabilities and risks. It included specialized maps that were used as a reference for strategic planning and significantly improved knowledge sharing related to hydro-meteorological issues. It also comprised key information on damage and loss from the January 2010 earthquake in neighbouring Haiti.
The drafting of the new National Plan engaged a team of consultants, who relied on references, interviews and participatory workshops that were instrumental in tailoring the guidelines to the institutional and social reality of the Dominican Republic context.
President Medina also announced recently the creation of a Centre of Excellence for Integrated Risk Management and Humanitarian Assistance. This will be dedicated to strengthening institutional and academic capacities to cope with the impact of disasters.
The centre is expected to serve as a platform for sharing national and international best practice and provide services to other countries in the region.