Disaster Response and Preparedness


Each year hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions cause extensive damage in Latin America and the Caribbean. PADF works with communities, governments, and private sector partners to mitigate the impact of these events, respond to emergencies when they occur and carry out disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction programs to help communities recover.

Preparing for Disasters

PADF continues to promote the principles and good practices associated with disaster preparedness, mitigation and risk reduction in all its work, especially through its Disaster Management Alliance (DMA). This unique regional platform, established in 2004, continues to serve as a vehicle to associate and focus the public and private sectors on disaster management issues, while promoting best practices throughout the region.

Providing Emergency Relief

PADF’s network of partners, including 23 American Chambers of Commerce and Organization of American States offices throughout the Americas, provides hemispheric-wide coverage during disasters. Working with the private sector, non-profit organizations and other entities, PADF distributes, monitors and ensures that relief supplies reach beneficiaries in an effective and timely manner. With the support of these partners, and through agreements with transportation companies, PADF moves emergency shelter packages and other supplies with very short notice. These efforts are enhanced by PADF’s close relationship with the OAS, which provides greater access to government authorities, translating into quicker and greater support and better on-the-ground responses

Assisting Disaster Recovery, Reconstruction and Mitigation

After immediate relief efforts are mobilized and implemented, countries often need support in reconstructing municipal buildings, schools and other infrastructure. PADF works closely with municipal leaders, community organizations, the private sector and civil defense agencies to identify the highest priorities and deliver resources with the greatest positive impact.

Strengthening Community Responses to Natural Disasters

PADF believes in the full participation of local communities and affected populations in relief programs, such as community-based early flood alert systems and other local preparedness planning and exercises. This approach complements the impact of a response, as it helps countries build public-private partnerships that enhance speedy responses and reconstruction and ensure greater coordination of assistance at the community level.

Supporting the Inter-American Committee for Natural Disaster Reduction

PADF actively supports the Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR), a forum established by the OAS General Assembly. IACNDR comprises many leading hemispheric organizations. Its primary purpose is to analyze issues related to natural and other disasters, including the prevention and mitigation of their effect, in coordination with OAS member states; competent national, regional and international organizations and non-governmental organizations. IACNDR also seeks to strengthen hemispheric actions to achieve maximum international cooperation in support of national and or regional efforts for timely prevention, preparedness, early warning, response, vulnerability reduction, emergency care, mitigation, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Aiding Victims of Humanitarian Crises

For decades, PADF has responded to most of the hemisphere’s major natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In its role as the OAS developmental and relief arm, PADF is also called upon at times to respond to other humanitarian crises such as assisting displaced persons in Colombia, demobilized ex-combatants in Central America, refugees fleeing civil unrest, victims of human trafficking and abuse, disabled citizens and excluded minorities such as Afro-descendent and indigenous communities and others.