Disasters & Accidents

Red Cross ships 37 tons of aid to Haiti from Panama

Panama City, Aug 19 (EFE).- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) shipped 37 tons of humanitarian aid to Haiti from Panama on Thursday, five days after a magnitude-7.2 earthquake left nearly 2,000 dead and tens of thousands of families homeless in that impoverished Caribbean nation.

The plane transporting emergency supplies from the federation’s humanitarian warehouse in Panama took off at around 7.30 am Thursday from the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, that Central American nation’s largest.

The aid consisted of 500 hygiene kits, 950 shelter toolkits, 2,000 waterproof tarps, 1,500 buckets, 2,000 jerry cans, 1,000 kitchen sets, 1,500 blankets, 2,500 Covid-19 personal protective equipment kits (masks, gloves and goggles) and 2,000 mosquito nets, according to official information.

The plane landed in Port-au-Prince late Thursday morning and will later be flown to Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic’s capital, to pick up more humanitarian items for shipment to Haiti as part of a bi-national humanitarian corridor, the IFRC said.

The Red Cross’s Honduras-based continental emergency operations manager, Felipe Del Cid, told Efe that the humanitarian corridor is a concept created several years ago in the region by the Red Cross, in coordination with the United Nations World Food Programme, to provide assistance to people and families affected by disasters in both countries.

The IFRC recalled that it had already sent 15 tons of basic necessities to Haiti on Wednesday on board the French navy frigate Germinal, an operation backed by the Red Cross’ Regional Intervention Platform for the Americas and the Caribbean (PIRAC).

For its part, Panama’s government on Tuesday sent 14 tons of humanitarian aid, including medicine, water, dry foods, blankets and bio-safety equipment, via a plane that Chile made available to support the relief effort in Haiti.

Panama is home to the Regional Logistics Center for Humanitarian Assistance, known as the Humanitarian Hub, a facility that is the first of its kind in the Americas and has a 12,000-square-meter (130,000-square-foot) storage capacity.

The other global humanitarian distribution centers are located in Dubai; Spain’s Canary Islands; Brindisi, Italy; and Kuala Lumpur.

The hub in Panama, which was designed to respond to humanitarian catastrophes in the region, is managed by two international agencies: the UN Humanitarian Response Depot and the IFRC.

Saturday’s earthquake in Haiti left nearly 2,000 people dead and 10,000 injured, making it one of the 10 deadliest temblors of the past 25 years in Latin America.

The quake caused enormous material damage, particularly in the country’s southwestern Tiburon Peninsula region.

A January 2010 earthquake whose epicenter was located on that peninsula, just 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, left around 300,000 dead and 1.5 million people homeless. EFE


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