USAID, OFDA Host Disaster Preparedness Course at Camp Lemonnier
A team from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance hosted two, two-day Joint Humanitarian Operations Courses at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, from Aug. 21 to 24, 2012.
The purpose of JHOC here is to introduce students to humanitarian and disaster assistance operations and concepts relative to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.
"In Africa we have a number of ongoing, complex emergencies," said Georgianna Platt, the OFDA principal regional advisor for Central Africa. "There is more and more attention [given] to the resources the military can bring to humanitarian operations and the role CJTF-HOA can play in these emergencies."
According to Platt, the U.S. military's ever-increasing focus on humanitarian assistance calls for service members to understand various roles, resources and requirements during disaster relief operations.
"[Here we] introduce the military to the overall government infrastructure that responds in a disaster," Platt said. "With the tentative climate that exists in the Horn, we're looking down the road to see what role CJTF-HOA can play [during] disasters."
Throughout the local course the USAID/OFDA team also discussed the history of U.S. government humanitarian assistance, and specific USAID and OFDA functions.
Angela Sherbenou, OFDA senior humanitarian advisor and U.S. Africa Command civilian and military advisor, explained the importance of all the course objectives. "I don't want to pass out my business card during a disaster," said Sherbenou. "If we learn the rules of the road, in a classroom setting, the staff here at Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa will be able to work better [with us during a disaster]. It's better to plan ahead and plan for the future Ã? together."
Since 2004, the team has offered the course nearly 75 times a year worldwide. The course has been offered here annually since 2008. For more information about USAID, OFDA or JHOC, visit http://usaid.gov/.