Presidente Piñera: "It is up to us to be prepared to give the Chilean people the guidance, early warning, assistance and protection they need"
This morning, President Piñera signed legislation to create the National Civil Protection Agency, which will transform the current ONEMI into a new institution which is "modern, quick, vigilant, flexible and effective and which fulfills its task of anticipating, preventing, alerting, guiding, protecting and helping the Chilean people to deal with natural catastrophes," he said. He also officially inaugurated the new National Early Warning Center.
With regard to the reconstruction process in Chile, he said, "While some people insist on denying the facts and it annoys them to see a country getting back on its feet, I want to state in all seriousness that over 50% of what the earthquake and tsunami destroyed has now been rebuilt."
In fulfillment of a pledge made on the very morning of February 27, 2010, Sebastián Piñera, the President of Chile, accompanied by the Minister of the Interior and Public Safety, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, this morning signed legislation creating the National Civil Protection Agency.
Just a few days before the commemoration marking one year since the tragedy, the President said that on the day of the earthquake, "the National Emergency Office was not prepared and it only took a few seconds for the whole country to realize the extent of improvisation and confusion which reigned."
He emphasized that these changes are needed because "while we are not able to anticipate or avoid natural catastrophes, we can be prepared and have modern, quick, flexible and effective institutions which provide the Chilean people with the guidance, early warning, assistance and protection they need."
The key objective of the legislation is to give the National Emergency Office a new institutional structure with greater powers and resources. It is "a modern institution which draws from the best examples and practices from around the world; which is quick and flexible, able to react in time instead of when it is too late; which is vigilant and will always be prepared and effective, so it can fulfill its job of anticipating, preventing, alerting, guiding, protecting and helping the Chilean people to deal with natural catastrophes," he said.
With regard to the reconstruction process in Chile, President Piñera emphasized that "while some people insist on denying facts and it annoys them to see a country getting back on its feet, I want to state in all seriousness that over 50% of what the earthquake and tsunami destroyed has now been rebuilt. I'm talking about homes, schools, hospitals, bridges, ports, airports, canals, reservoirs, civil works, heritage works and also the heritage and infrastructure of our Armed Forces."
"However, rather than letting down our guard or becoming self-complacent, the fact that the other half still needs to be rebuilt means that we will redouble our efforts. We hope that during 2011, with the support and contribution of everyone in Chile, we will be able to rebuild almost all of that other half," he added.
The President used the opportunity to call for unity in commemorating the anniversary of the tragedy of February 27, saying, "I hope that all Chilean men and women, but most particularly those who have the honor of representing the people, will join together as one in remembering and commemorating those who died. I also hope that we will be more united than ever so that we can build a better Chile for all."
The President also took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new National Early Warning Center. This has been equipped based recommendations from different international sources and includes various communication systems to ensure the reporting and transmission of emergency information (including HF and VHF systems, telephony and satellite Internet access in both the national and regional centers).
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Rodrigo González Fernández
Diplomado en "Responsabilidad Social Empresarial" de la ONU
Diplomado en "Gestión del Conocimiento" de la ONU
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