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Home : News
NEWS | Jan. 14, 2014

Puerto Rico National Guard works with its partners in Honduras to plan disaster response

By Staff Sgt. Joseph Rivera Rebolledo 113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Government representatives from Honduras met last week with members of the Puerto Rico National Guard to exchange knowledge on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to better respond to people's needs following natural disasters.

Honduras and Puerto Rico have collaborated as part of the State Partnership Program since 1998.

The agencies set to respond to emergencies include the Honduran army, navy, fire department, police department and the local emergency management agency Permanent Contingency Commission (Comision Permanente de Contingencia) (COPECO).

"Based in our experiences and protocols, also known as standard operating procedures (SOPs), we are able to present to our SPP partner ideas and concepts on how to better manage the crisis that they could be facing," said Lt. Col. Carlos Santana, State Partnership Program coordinator for the Puerto Rico National Guard.

"With this, we are providing Honduran senior military and civilian authorities the tools to better their operational system at a national level," Santana said.

According to Santana, the visit, which lasted Jan. 8-10, consisted of a seminar of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

"It would be great to see the Honduran government, COPECO, improve their emergency management procedures and protocols and be able to respond to any emergency efficiently in order to save lives through effective search and rescue skills while being able to protect property and infrastructure independently," said Santana.

In addition to sharing the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the National Guard's role in assisting after disasters, Lourdes Ardon, COPECO's humanitarian aide of the department of preparedness and response, explained how a program of this kind can benefit the people of Honduras.

"This exchange helps us strengthen as a country by expanding the knowledge for future events," said Ardon.

According to Ardon, listening about the lessons learned in the seminar and knowing how the PRNG prepares, plans and reacts helps the Hondurans to prepare better for any upcoming event.

At the end of the seminar more than 20 participants of various Honduran authorities were certified by the PRNG in the areas of humanitarian aid, emergency response, security and search and rescue.