National authorities in the Dominican Republic, which is in a region prone to natural disasters, have made significant advances in their readiness to receive humanitarian assistance if need be. After signing a Customs Agreement to facilitate the importation of emergency relief consignments, 40 customs agents from the Directorate-General of Customs of the Dominical Republic participated in a workshop on the role of customs in response to sudden-onset emergencies.

The workshop took place in Santo Domingo on 6 and 7 October 2015, and was organised by the OCHA Humanitarian Advisory Team in the Dominican Republic and the Activation and Coordination Support Unit of OCHA’s Emergency Services Branch in Geneva. As a result, OCHA and the national authorities have drafted a practical guide to receiving of humanitarian relief, which will be widely shared with national and international humanitarian actors in the country.

The week before, from 28 September to 1 October, Deutsche Post DHL held a Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) workshop to prepare the Santiago de Caballeros International Airport for the logistical challenges involved in disaster relief efforts. Among other outcomes, the airport surge capacity was assessed, and a detailed preparedness action plan was developed. This is the second airport in the country to have been prepared, first one being the Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo in 2014.

Photo credit: OCHA