The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MMARN) is holding a training workshop this week, given by firefighters from Spain to members of the Dominican State emergency entities that participate in the fight against forest fires and contribute to the preservation of the forests.
Víctor Manuel Pérez Cerrato, regional coordinator of the Extremadura Forest Fire Plan, and Javier Vergada, sub-inspector of the Basque Country Fire Department, are giving the workshop “Protocols and Command Systems for Forest Fires”, which is being held this week under the coordination of the Vice-Ministry of Forest Resources and the Emergency Attention Department of the MMARN, at the Holiday Inn Hotel, in the National District.
The Vice-Minister of Forestry Resources, José Elías González, and the head of Cooperation of the European Union in the Dominican Republic, Melvin Asin, highlighted the importance of the articulation between the States and the institutions.
He recalled the importance of training in the face of the new temperature conditions created by climate change and population growth in the Dominican Republic.
He stated that the population needs to be prepared to prevent, care for and respond to rescue agencies appropriately when emergencies arise. In this sense, he recalled that the authorities have a double challenge when they must control a forest fire, because they must also strive to help the population to raise awareness about the new stage of the globe in which climate change drives a rise in temperatures.
Meanwhile, Melvin Asin spoke about the danger of climatic conditions in the world and how the main risk factors affect populations, among which are forest fires, events that represent high mitigation costs for countries. “Many of these costs would have been saved with better forecasting and preparedness of the population,” he asserted.
He assured that the European Union will continue to support the Dominican government and people in their disaster risk reduction actions.
The workshop given by the Spanish technicians also aims to update the Contingency Plan to Support Forest Fire Intervention of the Emergency Operations Center (COE), the body which coordinates the response institutions.
The initiative is developed thanks to the support of the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge and the regional cooperation program between the European Union and Latin America Euroclima with the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Public Administration and Policies (FIIAP).
Erdwin Olivares, Deputy Director and Chief of Operations of the COE, valued as fundamental the training managed by Medio Ambiente, “with which not only our institution is strengthened, but also the country”.
Olivares emphasized that, despite the adverse conditions faced by emergency agencies today, the response capacity in the Dominican Republic has increased. “Today we can say that, in addition to having one of the best teams of forest firefighters, such as the Fire Management and Management Program of the Environment, we also have a great team of the Armed Forces. We have worked with the Army Rescue Unit, the Air Force, and today we are starting this work with the structural firefighters”, he said.
In addition to the technicians of the National Fire Management and Management Program and the COE, the Health, Risk Management and Emergency Response Department of the Higüey Mayor’s Office, the Humanitarian Rescue Unit of the Army of the Dominican Republic (UHR), as well as the Air Force of the Dominican Republic and the Dominican Municipal League are participating in the workshop. Also, personnel from the Fire Brigades of the National District; of Polo, Barahona; of Villa Altagracia; of Cambita Garabitos, San Cristóbal, and of Verón, Punta Cana.