Local May 27, 2024 | 11:59 am

Puerto Plata hosts international disaster preparedness seminar

Taino Bay, Puerto Plata. (FILE photo)

Puerto Plata, DR.- AERODOM, VINCI Airports, and the North Association of Hotels, Restaurants, and Tourism Companies (ASHONORTTE) understand the critical role that ports and airports play in disaster response. That’s why they joined forces to host the second annual “Disaster Preparedness in Strategic Ports and Airports” seminar in Puerto Plata.

This two-day event brought together over 20 local and international experts to share valuable recommendations for ports and airports to effectively respond to disasters.

The seminar is part of the ongoing Disaster Preparedness and Resilience of Ports and Communities (C-PReP) Program, supported by FedEx and with collaboration from the Southeast Airport Group (ASUR) and CIFAL Mérida. The regional focus on Puerto Plata, a key hub for passenger, cargo, and tourism movement, reflects the seminar’s aim to strengthen disaster preparedness across the region.

“Airports and ports are vital centers for the immediate delivery of aid and evacuation of affected people. In the event of a natural disaster, passenger volumes increase as relatives travel to the area to help their families, the international community sends specialists and relief supplies, and the media arrives to cover the response. If this situation is not handled properly, it can cause bottlenecks in aid delivery and halt relief distribution, which consequently puts citizens and tourists at risk,” expressed Carlos Rodolí, president of Ashonorte and director of North Cluster Airports for AERODOM.

Held at the Marien Puerto Plata Hotel in the Costa Dorada complex, the seminar aimed to get everyone on the same page for emergency response. Airport and seaport operators, civil aviation authorities, civil defense agencies and tourism representatives all came together to share ideas and best practices. Participants weren’t just listening to talks; they also tackled real-world scenarios with tabletop exercises, focusing on hurricanes, natural disasters, and other emergencies.

Over 120 in-person attendees received a certificate from the International Training Center for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL) of the United Nations Institute for Vocational Training and Research (UNITAR). The speakers weren’t just academics; they shared practical presentations and real-life experiences to prepare participants for the unique logistical challenges of natural disasters.

The seminar wasn’t limited to those in Puerto Plata. It was also broadcast virtually, with over 100 participants from across Latin America and the Caribbean joining in. They learned valuable insights on strengthening logistical capacities to prevent bottlenecks and ensure relief supplies are handled quickly and efficiently after a disaster strikes.

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