The U.S. Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), signed a partnership agreement on November 13to improve urban emergency preparedness and response in Addis Ababa. USAID will provide technical assistance to the city government of Addis Ababa that will make a significant difference in minimizing the effects of a disaster, including saving lives, protecting property, and helping the city recover more quickly from a disaster.

USAID and the Government of Ethiopia are expanding their partnership to include a focus on urban disasters in Addis Ababathrough the city’s Fire and Emergency Prevention and Rescue Authority (FEPRA). The partnership will include training on the U.S. National Incident Management System (NIMS) for managers and first responders to increase capacity for preparedness and response for urban disasters including firefighting, urban search and rescue and earthquake scenarios.

NIMS,a framework for disaster response and preparation currently used in the United States, makes it easier for governmental and private sector agencies to work together to prevent, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of disasters. Through this agreement, USAID will help the city government of Addis Ababa to develop city-wide emergency operation plans, establish disaster management teams, develop standard operating procedures for effective resource management, and develop a more integrated communication system for city-wide emergency preparedness and response.

“We are extremely happy to see this expansion of our cooperation with the Ethiopian Government in disaster management,” said USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller.  “We believe that FEPRA will be a strong and capable partner in improving disaster preparedness and response, benefitting all residents of the City of Addis Ababa.”

NIMS uses the Incident Command System which is globally recognized as a best practice for emergency response, providing organizational structure and processes at the field level to help regional and local governments more rapidly and effectively respond to disasters.The Incident Command System functions in disasters of any type or size, allowing personnel from a variety of agencies to fit rapidly into a common management structure.

Since 2008, USAID has supported a technical assistance partnership with the Government of Ethiopia to improve disaster response and preparedness capacity. The U.S. Forest Service has been implementing the partnership in collaboration with Ethiopia’s Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector Early Warning and Response Directorate and this agreement expands the partnership to the City of Addis Ababa.

US Embassy

Caption: Addis Ababa Deputy Mayor Abate Sitotaw (left) and USAID Mission Director Dennis Weller shake hands after signing a new agreement that will build the capacity of the City of Addis Ababa to respond to emergencies.

Photo: UN Embassy

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