The Panama government and volunteers from around the country are coming together to support Caribbean victims of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean. As part of its regional cooperation agreement, the government launched a Joint Task Force (FTC) team to aid islands that were pummeled by the storm, including St. Maarten and Cuba.
On Saturday, the FTC sent a plane to the Dominican Republic to the air bridge between the Dominican Republic and Isla Tórtola to evacuate Panamanian citizens, according to a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government is also organizing an effort to raise badly needed food and supplies for the island.
President Varela announced the opening of a collection center in Omar Park, under the coordination of the First Lady First of Panama, Lorena Castillo García de Varela. The group is specifically looking for personal hygiene items, powdered infant formula, adult milk and canned food, according to the statement.
The devastation is a reminder of how fortunate we are in Panama to be outside the hurricane zones. We get our share of rain, but nothing like the storms that batter the Caribbean and Mexican coasts.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also activated the Information Coordination Center (CECODI) to assist Panamanians in areas impacted by Hurricane Irma, as well as anyone seeking information about relatives. The CECODI is available 24 hours a day at 504-8814 and 6671-1040, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.