City of San José Beefs Up Disaster Preparedness

April 29, 2014

In preparation for this year’s imminent rainy season, the Municipality of San José is taking steps to prevent flooding as well as lessen the risks associated with other potential natural disasters that affect this part of the world.

In a meeting with the United Nations Development Program and the National Emergencies Commission last week, the three entities agreed to undertake a series of actions in the capital city.

The planning focuses on two-levels: direct actions within the city, and regional activities to share experiences and exchange information with other cities in Central America in order to recognize advances in risk reduction and to strengthen the capacity of local entities.

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (www.eird.org) points out that Costa Rica’s development pattern has allowed for commercial and residential growth that exerts tremendous pressure on the soil, especially in the Central Valley.

Alongside this, the storage, transportation and processing of toxic and dangerous substances has led to emergencies due to leaks, faulty handling or disposal. When combined with natural disasters, these issues become more complicated and create a situation in which there is a permanent and recurring threat of disasters.

The initiative began in the Andean region in 2006, and is being expanded to include Central America this year.

The program receives additional support from the CentralAmericanCoordinatingCenter for Prevention of Natural Disasters (CEPREDENAC), an initiative of the region’s governments.

The Municipality of San José has its own Office of Disaster Attention and Prevention (OPAD). They can be reached at 2547-6555, during the hours of 7:45 a.m and 3:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and on Fridays until 3:30 p.m.

–Sophia Klempner

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