Dr. Cantillo received a PEER Evidence to Action supplement in the summer of 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 plan 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.
After receiving the supplemental funds in mid-August 2017, Dr. Cantillo recruited two young researchers as members of the team that will carry out the supplemental effort, both of whom are from the Master’s in Civil Engineering program at the Universidad del Norte—Javier Echavez and Alejandro Urzola. During the remainder of the quarter ending September 30, 2017, the new team members were trained on the basic concepts of humanitarian logistics and antecedents of the project. The team has also reached out to the relevant local authorities and designed two types of surveys that will be used to collect information on the actual conditions of the entire emergency system. The surveys will be conducted in the municipalities at the highest risk in Colombia’s Atlantic Department: Manati, Campo de la Cruz, Santa Lucia, Candelaria, Repelón, Ponedera, and Suan. The first instrument consists of a perception survey for inhabitants to identify how much do they know about their local emergency system and if they believe they would be safe during a disaster event. The other one is intended for government officials and will be used to collect information the emergency supply system, the plans the officials have, and the infrastructure they expect to rely on in carrying them out. For the remaining months of the year, Dr. Cantillo and his team plan to continue designing the training program they will implement. A few field trips to the selected communities are also planned, and training materials and a project website will be designed in preparation for launching the training and workshops component of the activity in 2018. Back to PEER Cycle 2 Grant Recipients