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Center for Scientific Support in Disasters (CENACID-UFPR) Brazil

The Center for Scientific Support in Disasters (CENACID-UFPR) is a special unit of Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) associated with the Interdisciplinary Center for Environment and Development (NIMAD) of UFPR. It provides scientific and technical support to government and civil defense agencies, both national and international, as well as research institutions and non-governmental organizations during emergency situations. It also proposes actions to mitigate and respond to emergencies, and provides training on emergency response and accident prevention.

CENACID's specialists in various disciplines can be called upon in emergency situations. CENACID has been asked to provide scientific support in national and international emergencies, such as floods, landslides, oil spills, earthquakes, forest fires and volcanic eruption, particularly in Brazil, and in South and Central America. In collaboration with the Joint OCHA/UNEP Environment Unit, CENACID has provided such expertise for UNDAC missions as well, as was the case with the August 2007 earthquake in Peru, where a Rapid Environmental Assessment was performed and incinerators were purchased to deal with hazardous disaster waste that had been dumped on the beach.

CENACID periodically organizes a Basic Training Seminar aimed at unifying members' understanding of basic concepts related to disasters and emergencies, as well as providing knowledge about the activities of civil defense agencies. Training is also provided on specific skills such as the use of radio communications and maps.

In collaboration with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, CENACID-UFPR developed a specific Geographic Information System (GIS) to help the disaster management. The software, called "VICON-desastres", is designed to facilitate during emergencies building of geographically linked data base structures, which are easily accessible and manipulated.

In the last 3 years the number of CENACID missions increased significantly, and also the Center is growing. It has 65 associated scientists from UFPR and more 15 scientists from 9 other important universities in Brazil. Also there are five more universities from Americas and Europe with associated members integrated to it.

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