Bavaro & Punta Cana May 31, 2024 | 1:09 pm

Punta Cana Airport officials participate in GARD workshop for disaster preparedness

Punta Cana.- A group of 30 officials from Punta Cana Airport (PUJ) and the National Prevention, Mitigation, and Response System participated in the third edition of the “Disaster Ready Airports” (GARD) workshop. Organized by the DHL Group, UNDP, and WFP, the GARD Program helps airports prepare for their role as logistics hubs during disasters like floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes, integrating them into national emergency plans.

The five-day training aims to enhance Punta Cana Airport’s capacity to receive humanitarian aid during major emergencies. Participants, guided by five international DHL specialists, will assess current disaster response capacity and develop an action plan.

Gilberto Castro of the DHL Go Help Team highlighted that the Dominican Republic pioneered the GARD Program, contributing to its training methodology. In 2014, UNDP and DHL trained technicians at Las Américas Airport (SDQ), extending the program to Cibao Airport (STI) in 2015, further strengthening disaster response capabilities.

UNDP’s Inka Mattila and WFP’s Gabriela Alvarado emphasized the importance of risk reduction and preparing airports for emergencies. Vice Minister José Ramón Holguín discussed national disaster risk management initiatives, while Giovanni Rainieri, Director of Operations at Punta Cana Airport, noted the importance of enhancing emergency response capabilities.

Promoting institutions plan to revisit initiatives at Santo Domingo and Santiago airports and include Punta Cana Airport to ensure a network of safe airports. The GARD Program, established in 2009 and implemented in over 60 airports across 29 countries, focuses on training personnel, aiding relief operations, and assessing airport readiness during disasters.

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