Reference Centre for Institutional Disaster Preparedness in El Salvador
This month marks the seventh anniversary of the Reference Centre for Institutional Disaster Preparedness (CREPD), established at the Salvadorean Red Cross Society in 2005, with the coordination and technical support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Created to strengthen disaster preparedness and vulnerability reduction programs for the seven Central American National Societies, the Reference Centre has expanded its operational coverage, aiming to serve all Red Cross societies in North and South America and the Caribbean.
The Centre’s principal thematic areas are related to operations centres, National Intervention Teams, response and contingency planning, capacity building, and operating procedures. In addition to research, analysis and system validation, activities include courses, internships, instructor exchanges, technical assistance, instructor certification, and response system analysis. The staff’s extensive domestic and international experience has contributed to the development of innovative and creative methodologies that are applied to training offerings.
Recognizing the value of the services CREPD provides to Red Cross societies in the region as well as the experience and capacity of the Reference Centre personnel, external organizations have requested disaster preparedness training for community members and staff. These organizations have included the FUSAI, the Salvadorean Foundation for Integral Support, Suiz Farm Support, Plan International, OIKOS Cooperation, OXFAM, Lutheran Federation, Project Partners DIPECHO (European Comisions Disaster Preperadness Programme) and the Civil Protection systems in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
In seven years, CREPD has delivered courses and workshops to 3,865 people on National Intervention Teams (ENI); Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion; Emergency Health and the Organization and Operation of Emergency Operations Centres (OFCOE); Response and Contingency Plans; Logistics; Emergency Psychosocial Support; Information Management; Simulation and Simulacra; Epidemic Control for Volunteers and Rescue Techniques in Floods.
Miguel Vega, who leads CREPD, notes that during its first years most of the Reference Centre’s work was direct delivery of services to National Societies. Now, Red Cross societies may opt to have their members certified by this centre. Over 345 National Society members have received instructor training.
The future looks bright for expansion of CREPD. This year, the Canadian Red Cross, which has a Health Emergency Response Unit, is planning to fund the upgrade of the Emergency Health module for Regional Response Teams. The IFRC’s Pan American Disaster Response Unit will use Reference Centre training modules to support the creation of Regional Response Units that will add capacity for disaster response in the Americas.
“We are very satisfied with the work being done at the Reference Centre for Institutional Disaster Preparedness,” said Marco Franco, Risk Reduction Delegate of the International Federation. Working with CREPD and the Salvadorean Red Cross Society over the past seven years, “we have been able to increase the coverage and quality of humanitarian asistance to the most vulnerable.”