The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has built the Regional Logistics Center for Humanitarian Assistance, or the Humanitarian Hub, to improve the capacity of governments and international agencies to respond efficiently to natural disasters and other events that will require humanitarian assistance.
The UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Panama is currently located in a warehouse facility at the Panama Pacifico Airport. It predominately services the Latin American and Caribbean regions. The depot is currently being made temporarily available by the Government of Panama, and will move to the planned Regional Logistic Centre for Humanitarian Assistance upon inauguration, which is planned September 2018.
The UNHRD in Panama plays a leading role in emergency preparedness and response for Latin America and the Caribbean, and is generously made available by the Government of Panama. In February 2014, when torrential rains caused severe flooding and landslides across Bolivia, UNHRD Panama dispatched 135 MT (worth USD$900,000) of equipment and relief items on behalf of six humanitarian partners.
In 2016, Partners using UNHRD’s Panama depot included: AECID, CASCOS BLANCOS, GOVERNMENT OF PANAMA, SHELTER BOX, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, and WORLD VISION. In 2016, the Panama depot dispatched 539MT of emergency supplies (worth USD 2.9 million) which supported humanitarian interventions in 10 countries.
The Humanitarian Hub will be a space for aid workers, humanitarian agencies and institutions, and international and national organizations to converge and work towards greater resilience in the region.
The Humanitarian Hub will host the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot, managed by the World Food Programme, as well as several humanitarian aid agencies working in the region, including the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.
“This center will be a special administrative entity of the Panamanian State that will serve Central America and the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean countries. The logistics center will facilitate receiving, storing and redistributing items and equipment, as well as mobilize human resources for an efficient management of relief and humanitarian assistance in the face of national and international emergencies that may occur due to natural or other effects,” said the President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela.