As the current hurricane season moves into high gear, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is ensuring that regional response teams are prepared for any eventuality
USAID/OFDA Senior Regional Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Tim Callahan, recently met with the Barbados surge team, which will serve as the Agency’s eyes and ears during the coming months. During the meeting, the USAID/OFDA senior official reviewed policies and procedures to ensure coverage and communication. The Costa Rica-based regional office is managed by Mr. Callahan and four other regional advisors, who work with in-country and regional support staff.
The eight-member surge team is among 390 regional consultants responsible for proposing strategies for effective disaster response and coordinating the distribution of all humanitarian assistance provided by USAID/OFDA and USAID/LAC. Members are trained in damage assessment, shelter management, and general USAID/OFDA mechanisms. The local team, which includes doctors, structural, and mechanical engineers, search and rescue personnel, and general contractors, has never mobilized in Barbados to date.
USAID/OFDA provides humanitarian assistance to countries around the world during emergencies including hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, floods, droughts, fires, and pest infestations. It also assists during civil conflict, acts of terrorism, or industrial accidents and funds mitigation activities to reduce the impact of recurrent natural hazards. Training and technical assistance is provided to build local capacity for disaster risk management and response.