The communities of Santa Rosa and Guayabalito in the township of Santa Rita, province of Colón, have experienced the force of natural phenomena, and for this reason their residents have not hesitated to prepare for any eventuality.
How do they do it? Through a joint effort: the community, the Panama Canal and the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), who are working on a plan to deal with floods. This simulation exercise is carried out every two years.
In mid-September the plan was rehearsed again, which also has the support of the Santa Rosa Community Board, the Fire Department and the Red Cross, who contribute their experience to strengthen the initiative.
Once the sirens warning of spills in the Madden dam due to an unusual increase in rainfall were heard, the residents of these two communities left their homes to the meeting points, located in high and safe places. This action took between four and eight minutes, a good time considering that the siren is activated 15 minutes before opening the floodgates, and that these waters take another additional time to reach these areas.
During the exercise, representatives from all entities gathered information to suggest corrective actions to make this preparation more effective.
The Panama Canal remains committed to the efficient management of water resources and to safeguarding the safety of the residents of these communities, which is why it promotes this type of activity and monitors rainfall and lake levels as part of its flood control program.