“We must be prepared to support the region and act fast”

Response, Readiness and Preparedness in Latin America and the Caribbean
05 October 2020
Facilitation of airlift in Venezuela, July 2020

With more than 5.5 million cases recorded, the Latin America and the Caribbean region is one of the most affected in the world by the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown measures. To answer to increasing humanitarian needs despite movement restrictions, humanitarian actors must adjust, coordinate and strengthen the resilience of their supply chain. The Logistics Cluster has been developing new strategies and partnerships to support partners’ scale up in this unprecedented context.

While increasing the response activities for the Logistics Cluster in Venezuela and the Logistics Sector in Haiti, the Global Logistics Cluster also conducted three remote Gaps and Needs Analysis Exercises in Colombia, Ecuador and Honduras. These interviews-based reports are efficient tools to support countries facing critical logistics challenges that do not fall under the criteria of an IASC activation. In these countries and several others, such as El Salvador, the Logistics Cluster has been sharing best practices and lessons learned to ensure that national logistics officers have access to all the necessary knowledge to conduct their own coordination activities.

OCHA and Logistics Cluster coordination activities, August 2020

OCHA and Logistics Cluster coordination activities, August 2020

Juan Pablo O’Farrill Duque, the OCHA focal point in Mexico, reflects on the lessons learned of the COVID-19 response in the region and its logistics impact: 

“As humanitarian actors, we must reinvent logistics. This crisis has brought the humanitarian supply chain question back at the center of our daily activities. It is a unique opportunity to build stronger and more flexible partnerships for the future at national, regional and international levels along with the Logistics Cluster.”

Additionally, the current hurricane season in the region, reported as one of the most severe in the past years, is adding pressure on the ongoing response activities, requiring significant efforts of preparedness and readiness in a context with existing limitations.

As part of the Logistics Preparedness Project, the Logistics Cluster is working hand-in-hand with National Disaster Management Agencies to support partners in reinforcing their national supply chain and coordination mechanisms. Haiti, Colombia and Honduras will be transitioning to preparedness activities in the coming months and engaging in capacity building exercises to ensure that their national humanitarian communities have the capacity to respond to the next crisis in the most efficient ways.

To learn more about the Logistics Cluster Preparedness Project, visit our dedicated page here.