As a result of the emergency caused by COVID-19 and the arrival of the hurricane season, the attention to emergencies due to rains in the second part of the year will be addressed under other guidelines for the protection of emergency response officials and the population in vulnerability condition.
This was announced at a press conference on Monday, the president of the National Commission for Risk Prevention, Alexander Solís, who announced that new guidelines were created for the management of temporary shelters, a new modality to declare alerts, as well as standards from security to the first response institutions for their safety and that of citizens in the midst of a pandemic.
Hector Chaves, General Director of Firefighters, indicated that his institution is prepared, both in equipment and training, to face the emergencies that arise in this rainy season, however, the ideal is to take the provisions to prevent their occurrence. For this reason, he urged that preventive measures be issued by the first response institutions.
For this rainy season, the CNE organized itself inter-institutionally to implement preparedness and response plans along six major lines to lessen the impact of hydro-meteorological phenomena on the most vulnerable communities.
- The first line is the activation of the alert mechanisms, through constant technical-scientific coordination with the National Meteorological Institute (IMN). It also defined a new pandemic alert scheme: Green alerts for information, Yellow alerts for preparation, Orange alerts for mobilization and Red alerts for major emergencies.
- The second line of action is the Organization and Coordination Structure with the institutions that work in the prevention and attention of emergencies through the Emergency Operations Center (COE) and the 90 Municipal and Regional Emergency Committees distributed in the country , who articulate their work in thematic tables and through a system the use of new technologies.
- The third line is a robust permanent Monitoring and Surveillance System through daily monitoring of the weather and the conditions of the rivers and landslides. The information is broadcast by 650 radio stations located at strategic points in the national territory. This surveillance is carried out in the 1,462 communities in the country identified as vulnerable by floods or landslides.
- The fourth line of work corresponds to the management of shelters that presents a particularity since social distancing requires the authorization of more facilities and new verification protocols must be followed by the Ministry of Health to guarantee the protection of the victims.
- The fifth line is the equipment. The CNE has 54 warehouses and an inventory of facilities arranged as temporary accommodation in each canton, which include local resources such as blankets, foams, chainsaws, etc., the acquisition of items for permanent stock such as boats, and the inventory of local suppliers, among other tasks.
- The rescue of people is the sixth line of work implemented for emergency care. This line is worked together with the first response institutions such as the Benemérito Fire Department, the Ministry of Public Security and the Costa Rican Red Cross for the preventive transfer of family groups from areas declared under alert by hydrometeorological phenomenon to the management of temporary shelters .
For its part, the CNE has a Unit that is in charge of managing the communication network 24 hours a day, which was modernized to guarantee better communication throughout the national territory.
As a mitigation measure, it is planned to equip first responders with personal protective cleaning supplies and physical barriers to prevent contagion. Similarly, the disinfection approach of rescue units is being agreed with the institutions. This includes the prior verification of COVID positive people in the evacuation zone in order to provide them with differentiated treatment and thus avoid contagion.
With these six lines of work, the CNE as coordinating entity, seeks to link efforts through the participation of civil society, local governments and government institutions to lessen the impact of the main threats associated with the phenomenon of rain and strong winds.