Around 50 experts on emergencies and disasters form Central America and Ecuador participated in a drill exercise developed in the framework of the regional workshop on disaster response teams held in San Jose, Costa Rica from 19 to 23 April.
The exercise, which used real scenarios (situation room, emergency operations center, shelters, etc.), allowed the implementation of lessons learned and tools developed during the training process of the project, implemented by the Pan American Health Organization with the financial support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). This initiative aims at strengthening the disaster response capacity in Central America, Dominican Republic and Ecuador.
Costa Rican institutions such as the Ministry of Health, the Social Insurance Fund, the Red Cross, the National Emergency Commission and the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA), actively participated in the exercise, provided logistical support and tracked the script development and the evaluation process.
The participants faced complex situations in different areas such as need assessment in the health sector, information management, logistics, shelters, water and sanitation, etc. The expected outcome of the exercise was to generate an action plan to address the risk factors on public health.
Among the lessons learned, participants noted the importance of teamwork, coordination and efficient management and timely flow of information for an adequate decision-making process and effective response. The evaluation of the exercise was very positive and participants generated questions, concerns and new challenges for the future.