Honduras Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Programme

A joint effort between Swiss Re and the Swiss Red Cross empowers citizens of an area in Honduras to prepare for natural disasters and raises risk awareness.

When Tropical Depression No. 16 caused severe flooding and landslides in Honduras in October 2008, the country’s government declared a state of emergency and requested humanitarian assistance. The Swiss Red Cross (SRC) reacted straight away by initiating two humanitarian projects to meet the immediate needs of 1,600 families who were suffering the effects of flooding in the departments of Valle, Choluteca and Olancho.

Swiss Re has worked with the SRC to provide support in the region since 2008. Our latest joint initiative is a Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Programme in the municipality of Dulce Nombre de Culmí, Honduras. In Central America, Honduras is one of the countries facing highest risks of natural disasters, therefore the link between prevention, preparedness and emergency aid is a core condition for sustainable improvement.

New agreement signed in 2009

The project in Dulce Nombre de Culmí was launched in August 2009 and will run until December 2011. It is committed to increasing risk awareness among the local population and authorities, as well as to protecting the environment through educational schemes and preventative measures at household, community and municipality level. A total of 28 communities and 12,000 people are set to benefit from this comprehensive risk prevention programme. Our expertise is making a key contribution to the identification and mapping of risk zones and we are also supporting the training of Red Cross volunteers in community-based first aid, strengthening the disaster preparedness capacity of local health centres.

Better level of organisation

Carlos Manuel Aguilar, chairman of a local committee for prevention and response (CODEL) in the region comments on the work already implemented since 2008, “Although the risks persist today, there is a better level of organisation. We have been trained and we feel more secure because we now know not only what to do when an emergency arises, but we can perform actions necessary for prevention and mitigation.”

These are strong foundations for fulfilling the mission of our ongoing partnership with the Swiss Red Cross, to prevent natural disasters triggering humanitarian crises.

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