PADF's Response to Natural Disasters
Natural disasters and humanitarian crises can devastate entire communities. PADF strives to lessen the impact by improving disaster mitigation, preparedness, and recovery.
When natural disasters and humanitarian crises strike, communities are often devastated and left vulnerable, having little access to some of life's essentials, such as food, clean water, shelter, and basic services. While they must deal with the tragic loss of human life and property, they also have to face the uncertainty of seeing their livelihoods destroyed or severely affected.
The increasing number and severity of natural disasters and humanitarian crisis in the Americas, combined at times with growing civil instability, demonstrate that the need for disaster interventions will continue to grow. As part of the Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction, PADF is charged with mobilizing corporate and private contributions, and public sector grants, to support disaster preparedness and mitigation, emergency responses and , and to implement disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction programs.
PADF works in alliance with the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA) and its member national AmChams and their corporate members to respond to national disasters in individual Latin American and Caribbean countries to build local capacity for preparedness, mitigation and emergency relief. The Foundation also partners with Hispanic and Caribbean hometown associations, civic groups such as Rotary Clubs, foundations and individual donors to rapidly channel resources to where they are needed most. Each time, PADF works through local non-governmental organizations and communities and in close coordination with national disaster authorities in LAC countries and their Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States.
PADF strives to lessen the impact of disasters and crises by:
- Preparing for disasters
- Providing emergency relief where we have a local presence
- Assisting disaster recovery, reconstruction, and mitigation
- Strengthening community responses to natural disasters
- Supporting the Inter-American Committee for Disaster Reduction
- Aiding victims of humanitarian crises
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 takes a leading role in emergency response efforts when disaster events strike communities where we have a local offices, staff, and partnerships. Within hours of a disaster event, our capacity to provide life-saving assistance, such as water, food, shelter, and medicines, is greatest when local staff and volunteers can be quickly mobilized to receive and distribute aid. PADF is often able to support the distribution of financial and, when needed and feasible, in-kind donations. Following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, PADF immediately mobilized over 80 staff members from our Haiti office to support rapid needs assessments and distribution of clean drinking water in areas devastated by the storm.
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.
Chronology of PADF Natural Disaster Responses: 1962-2015
PADF has had over 50 years of experience responding to natural disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Below is a chronological listing of those responses.