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Raul appraises national civil defense organization
Army General Raul Castro Ruz, Deputy Secretary of the Party and Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, held a meeting with the members of the national directorate of the Cuban Civil Defense, as well as with executives and researchers from the national weather service, the Instituto de Meteorologia, with the objective of checking personally the degree of readiness to face the climate related events that may happen from now on, when the hurricane season in our geographical area has just started.

Raul Castro , who is also de vicepresident of the National Defense Council, was provided with detailed information about the present situation regarding the planning, organization and preparations of the Cuban Civil Defense System to operate in case of disasters.

Two stars army general Ramon Pardo Guerra, Chief of the National Staff of the Civil Defense, was in charge of explaining the most relevant changes introduced during the past two years with the purpose of optimizing this system.

Among the results achieved, Pardo Guerra highlighted the improvements in the training and composition of the commanding posts, the modernizing of the technological support that assures the reception and transmission of data, the establishing of a new set of guides and methodology to determine the risks, the higher quality of the network devoted to the monitoring of extreme events, as well as the warning mechanisms and for the guidance of the citizens, including the information work that is carried on by the mass media.

Despite the advances, he underscored the need of optimizing the economic and financial planning of the process of mitigating the effects of disasters, and the dealing with the risks of a sanitary nature, as part of the measures to continue strengthening the bio-security of the nation.

For the Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, who recognized the advances, the Cuban civil defense system is obliged to train better and better due to the complexities of the times that are coming up from the point of viez of the climate and phenomena of other nature.

Along that line, he underlined the importance of the completion of the civil defense organizations at all its levels, with highly qualified specialists, and he praised the valuable information provided by the research studies about the vulnerabilities , including those dealing with the draught, and the ones about the possible raise of the sea level.

In the area of civil defense, as it also happens in other areas of the life of the nation, Raul emphasized, one of the most important things is to maintain what has been already done. The investments , he oriented, are obliged to be conceived and done with sustainable criteria.Raul appraised the excellent conditions of the new venue of the National Headquarters of the Civil Defense, located in Casablanca , a few meters away of the National Weather Service, the Instituto de Meteorologia, installations that he also toured.

According to what General Pardo Guerra commented, the building was remodeled and prepared " to the tune of our needs". The Command Post, he explained, has an adequate communications and computerized system as well as maps for following the operations. There is also a guarantee of back up power by means of standby generators and facilities for the press, including the possibility of making remote pick up radio and television broadcasts from the site.

At the Instituto de Meteorología (The Cuban National Weather Service) its Director , Dr. Tomas Gutierrez Perez Ph.D. provided a detailed account of what has been done by the institution to implement what was indicated by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro with great foresight in September of 2004, on the occasion of hurricane Ivan; with the aim of strengthening the national meteorological system.

Gutierrez Perez underscored that in compílanse of the Comandantes instructions, the existing weather radars were automated, the weather information and its display on national television was improved, the forecasts improved in quality and the design of Web site of the Institute was upgraded, with the data updated on a daily basis.

In that digital page , the scientist added, the satellite as well as the information from the nations eight long range weather radar stations is available. At the present time, the access to the website has improved, and its content is consulted by specialists and foreign entities.

He also underlined that the upgrading of the radar stations was done with a substantial saving, due to the fact that it is the result of a technology developed by the Camaguey Radars Center. By means of those already existing seven stations, and one that was added later (in Holguin) all the Cuban archipelago is provided with weather radar coverage.

Following the guidelines indicated by Fidel, the training of new specialists has also received a boost, the provincial meteorology centers have been repaired, as well as the weather stations, together with the renewal of their equipment. An additional element is the modernizing achieved in the area of infocommunications of the national meteorological system.

As the expert reminded, at this moment the research programs in progress are centered in key aspects of the climate change, extreme weather events, atmospheric pollution, artificial rain and the incorporation of new technologies like solar and wind energy. During the conversation, Raul reiterated the indication of continuing with the modernizing not only with rigorous scientific concepts , but also with material and financial rationality, without loosing attention to the slightest details of the demands of maintenance.

While there, Raul appraised the works of the Forecasts Center, under the direction of Dr.Jose Rubiera Ph.D. and also of the one devoted o Marine Meteorology. He also observed the upgrading of the central node of the national meteorological network.

The Deputy Secretary of the Party ended the days journey at the Casa del Che Cultural Center in La Cabana fortress. The building located right next to the ones previously visited, was reopened seven months ago, and has already been visited by several thousands of persons, a significant part of them tourists and school children from the surroundings that participate in the arts workshops that take place there. It was, as he wrote in the visitors book, " a moving emotion" to be inthe house where Che slept for the first time when he arrived to the capital on the 3rd of January of 1959, after the triumph of the Revolution.

Army Three Star General , deputy minister and Chief of Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Foreces as well as other generals , and chiefs of directorates of MINFAR and Fernando Gonzalez Bermudez, acting minister of Science Technology and the Environment accompanied Raul during the tour.
Source: By María Julia Mayoral, Granma

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