In January, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo, AECID) inaugurated a humanitarian logistics center in Panama to accelerate and improve their response to disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Center for Humanitarian Assistance will be able to handle several crises simultaneously. This is an aspect of the agency’s efforts to find new logistical solutions to respond to emergencies caused by disasters and all types of crises in the region. The principal areas of intervention will be health care, water supply with advanced equipment for water treatment, sanitation, and shelter.

The location of the center in Panama will reduce transportation costs while increasing the agency’s response time. The Panama center will also help in adapting materials and relief procedures to local needs.

AECID has become one of the main donors of humanitarian assistance for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact, in 2007 the Region received 20.70% of AECID’s humanitarian assistance. For 2008, the AECID budget is US$160 million. Spain has also provided important contributions to the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund for the same period. AECID has signed an agreement with PAHO/WHO to collaborate in facilitating health response for emergencies in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information on AECID activities, consult