PADF and Taiwan Implement Disaster Risk Reduction Project for Vulnerable Communities in Honduras

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Tegucigalpa, Honduras (December 17, 2013) – The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and the Government of Taiwan announce a new 12-month disaster risk reduction project that will mitigate the impact of heavy rains and landslides on one of Tegucigalpa’s most vulnerable hillside neighborhoods.

The goal of the project, called the “Neighborhood-Based Approach to Disaster Risk Reduction for Highly Vulnerable Hillside Communities in Tegucigalpa, Honduras,” is to reduce the loss of life and to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of flooding and heavy rains in high-risk urban areas of the capital.

“PADF plans to combine an innovative approach—Integrated Risk Reduction for Resilient Urban Neighborhoods—with proven community-based strategies that promote resilience, safeguard lives and livelihoods, and help build community capacity and social capital for risk reduction,” stated Liza Mantilla, PADF Director of Disaster Management.

PADF is carrying out preparedness activities designed to build local capacity to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, while reducing underlying vulnerabilities that put these often impoverished populations at risk. This initiative seeks to directly benefit thousands of residents who live in Tegucigalpa’s Colonia La Canaán, an at-risk, peri-urban hillside neighborhood, by training local residents in basic disaster risk reduction techniques, empowering them with small grants for infrastructure improvement, and linking them into the city’s broader disaster preparedness and response networks.

The program will document lessons learned and use peer learning to apply this knowledge to neighboring communities located on the same hillside. The Emergency Community-Based Risk Reduction Committees (CODELs) of La Canaán will also host neighboring "colonias" on the hillside to demonstrate the best practices and seek ways to collaborate and complement the disaster risk reduction work they have done. Local Honduran universities' participation will enhance local disaster management capacity, whereby students and faculty will be incorporated into several aspects of program operations, including baseline surveys to supervision of community planning and infrastructure activities. This initiative aims to produce a model that incorporates university students to promote the professionalization of disaster management as well as youth based volunteerism - these are approaches that can be expanded to other high-risk urban settings in Honduras and replicated in other Central American countries.

“By supporting collaboration at the neighborhood level and fostering linkages among adjacent communities that not only share vulnerability, but also contribute to the vulnerability of others, PADF goes beyond the ‘neighborhood approach’ to establish an entire ‘hillside approach’ to reduce the vulnerability of these to natural shocks,” added Mantilla. 

This latest initiative is the second disaster preparedness and risk reduction project that PADF has launched this year under the 5-year Regional Disaster Assistance and Reconstruction Program, an innovative partnership with Taiwan that combines multiple interventions in the Latin American and Caribbean region including project implementation; peer-to-peer learning; internships and international awareness raising activities and workshops combining research leaders and responsible government agencies, all focused on disaster mitigation and risk reduction. PADF’s initial disaster preparedness project called the Haiti/DR Disaster Mitigation Project is helping reduce the impact of natural disasters in South East Haiti and the South East border region between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

About PADF
The Pan American Development Foundation is an affiliate of the Organization of American States established in 1962 to implement socio-economic development programs and disaster assistance. For half a century PADF has supported innovative projects that address key challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean. They include developing microenterprises and employment opportunities, improving social services and technical training, strengthening civil society and community participation, and aiding victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. During 2013, PADF reached more than 10.2 million people in 22 countries, executing grants from public and private sector partners and promoting corporate social responsibility.