This year, the needs and challenges of people with disabilities in the face of disaster were a central topic of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, sponsored by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on October 13. In addition, today, the UN celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with the slogan "nothing about us without us", which seeks to promote understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of people living with disabilities.
During the event chaired by Mr. Arturo Alvarado, Director-General of SINAPROC, the journalistic community was recognized as one of the institution’s best allies for the dissemination of policies and actions to preserve and save lives, and also applauded the work of social communication professionals including Anghy De Gracia of NexTV Channel 21 and Jesús Simmons of Día a Día, as well as Elena Valdés and Leonardo Machuca of TVN, among others.
Other ministers, partners and international officials who have been instrumental in strengthening SINAPROC’s capacities in the areas of disaster risk reduction and the development of recovery plans were awarded the "Medal of Merit"; including the Head of the Regional Office for the Americas of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Mr. Ricardo Mena, for the outstanding contribution of the Office to the effective and successful achievement of the programmes and actions of Civil Protection personnel, as expressed in Resolution No. 017 adopted on November 1 this year.
According to a SINAPROC official statement, there have been 31 years of continuous effort and learning, accompanied by many anecdotes from those who still remember when the institution operated from a small office under a staircase in the former Government of Panama buiding. Today, the statement adds, the fruits of Mr. Alvarado’s leadership are evident through his success in converting the SINAPROC into a highly efficient institution, supported by a positive public perception.
The text extends congratulations to the hundreds of men and women who willingly leave the comfort of their homes and loved ones to fulfill in an altruistic manner missions that others are not willing to assume, missions that also go beyond humanitarian work and incorporate pre-disaster efforts to strengthen the resilience of communities and reduce the impact and economic cost of disasters as well as the loss of human life and livelihoods in the country.