Dr. Cantillo received a PEER Evidence to Action supplement in August 2017 to support a one-year outreach and capacity building effort as a follow on to his PEER Cycle 2 project, which was completed in October 2016. During the final stages of that project, the PI and his team worked on designing a model emergency management system, based on an analysis of current practices in developing countries but extending that to propose a model for the internal organization of the relevant government agencies consistent with the humanitarian logistics models the team had developed. Now, the researchers aim to apply the system they developed and propose specific policy recommendations regarding natural disaster preparedness and response. In particular, they will focus on the communities affected by floods in the Colombian Caribbean Region during the rainy season in 2010 and 2011. The first main objective is to train people in charge of disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response on policies that will ensure humanitarian assistance in areas with high levels of disaster risk, based on the results of the original PEER-supported research. The second aim is to develop a collaborative work plan with municipal and provincial authorities in the target communities in order to introduce the recommended policies in their strategic planning and investment process in preparation for potential disasters.
Although progress was slowed somewhat due to the holidays at the end of the last quarter of 2017, Dr. Cantillo and his group designed instruments for collecting essential information that will allow them to characterize the municipalities included in the project. In December, they contacted disaster expert Dr. Johanna Amaya, a former Ph.D. student of U.S. partner Prof. José Holguín-Veras. Dr. Amaya is an assistant professor in the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems at Iowa State University, and she has confirmed her participation in Dr. Cantillo’s planned workshops and conferences in March. During this last quarter, the researchers also met with two key officials from Colombia’s Atlántico Department, the Secretary of Infrastructure and the Coordinator of the Office for Attention to Natural Disasters. They are willing to help the team to plan their training activities.
By the end of January 2018, the team will complete trips to the municipalities with the highest risk of floods in the Atlántico Department, including Manatí, Campo de la Cruz, Santa Lucía, Candelaria, and Suán. They will conduct surveys to gather a representative sample of data. In early February, they have arranged meetings with government authorities and non-governmental organizations to gather information about the emergency system. Specific training activities will begin in the second week of March. The Office for Attention to Natural Disasters and the Red Cross provide support during this stage. Back to PEER Cycle 2 Grant Recipients