Submitted by Natalie Acosta
9 May 2023

National Red Cross Societies announce the launch of the WaSH Hub in Central America

Climate change and poor water management in Latin America have caused large-scale water scarcity, resulting in populations at risk lacking access to this essential resource. In addition, recurrent disasters such as floods, droughts and epidemics are affecting the Central American region, aggravating the situation facing the water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WaSH) sector.

Six National Red Cross Societies recently agreed to create a WaSH Hub in Central America. This set in motion the process of creating a centre for emergency management using a WaSH approach, where human and logistical capacities are strengthened to anticipate and respond to different emergencies.

The WaSH Hub was officially agreed as a regional cooperation through the Guatemala Declaration, which was signed at an event held on 20-21 April in Guatemala City, Guatemala. This followed a series of high-level exchanges between more than 40 presidents, directors and water and sanitation specialists representing the Guatemalan Red Cross, the Honduran Red Cross, the Salvadoran Red Cross, the Nicaraguan Red Cross, the Costa Rican Red Cross, the Panamanian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

During the event, José Juan Castro, president of the Honduran Red Cross, emphasized that “with the creation of the WaSH Hub of Central America, we will be able to join efforts towards a more holistic vision to attend more efficiently the humanitarian crises in our region”.

Launch of the WaSH Hub

Click on this video to see impressions of the event from the six presidents of the National Societies in Central America.

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Safer water for communities in Central America

The current inventory of these National Societies estimates a safe water production capacity of 114 cubic meters per hour, with a potential of a daily reach of about 182,400 people in the region. Through the WaSH Hub, these and other capacities will be enhanced.

The WaSH Hub will be developed under five strategic pillars: (1) capacity building; (2) equipment and maintenance; (3) planning and advocacy; (4) activation and deployment; and (5) sustainability. The German Red Cross will provide technical and financial support during its first three years. It is being promoted within the framework of the ‘Integrated Program for Strengthening Community Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness of National Societies in Central America’, financed by the German government.

This article was written by Natalie Acosta, German Red Cross, who also took the event photos.