Posted in Issue 113 - May 2010 News from PAHO/WHOEmergency and disaster experts from Central America and Ecuador took part in a simulation as part of a regional workshop between 19 and 23 April in San José, Costa Rica. The drill simulated an earthquake and response operations at several venues, including water plants, situation rooms, and emergency operations center, emergency shelters, etc., giving some 40 participants the chance to use information and tools they had covered in training. The drill was part of the “Strengthening the disaster response capacity of the health sector” project which is being administered by PAHO with funding from the Spanish International Cooperation Agency.
Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission, Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers, Ministry of Health, Social Security Fund, and Red Cross provided logistical support and equipment, assisted in developing the simulation script, and took part in evaluation of the exercise.
Participants in the drill were organized into multidisciplinary teams. They responded to scenarios requiring damage and needs assessment in the health sector, disaster management, information management, logistics, and management of emergency shelters and water and sanitation systems.
Among lessons learned from the drill, participants noted the importance of teamwork, effective coordination, good management, and timely flow of information for decision making in emergencies, among others.