Photo: Juvenal Balán

Strengthening the country's ability to confront dangerous earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and health issues is the basic objective of this year's "Meteoro 2017" preparedness exercise, scheduled May 20-21, according to

Division General (R) Ramón Pardo Guerra, head of the National Civil Defense Joint Chiefs of Staff, who spoke with the press, along with second-in-command Colonel Luis Ángel Macareño.

On the first day of activities, meetings between leadership bodies and commands at all levels will be held to analyze dangers, the results of exchanges of information among vigilance and monitoring entities, and the functioning of early warning systems.

Also planned is the activation of the National Emergency Network of Amateur Radio Operators, and an evaluation of recovery work currently underway, as well as projections for such efforts in 2018.

On the second day of Meteoro 2017, scheduled are practice sessions involving the population in communities and workplaces, meant to reduce vulnerability to disasters.

In accordance with local conditions and information gathered, Municipal Defense Councils will introduce appropriate measures to respond to different contingencies.

According to forecasts by experts at the Meteorology Institute, Ramón Pérez Suárez and Cecilia González, this year's hurricane season, which begins June 1 in the region, is expected to be normal, with the formation of ten storm systems, six of which could become hurricanes.

Regardless of the number of tropical storms, preparedness is essential. The population and Civil Defense must be ready to take steps to protect human lives and material resources in a timely fashion.