SONY DSCLocated in a region prone to natural disasters, Afghanistan and particularly its northern areas are vulnerable to multiple hazards. According the South Asian Disaster Knowledge Network the provinces of Baghlan and Badakhshan are classified as high risk for floods, landslides and avalanches. Moreover, the most damaging earthquakes of the last 15 years in Afghanistan have taken place in these provinces.

In order to reduce the risk to communities in these northern provinces of Afghanistan, Focus Humanitarian Assistance  (FOCUS), an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, jointly with the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) is conducting an Emergency Response Management Training from April 14 through 18, 2013 for government and civil society emergency responders from Baghlan and Badakhshan.

During intensive five-day training the civil servants will improve their capacity of establishing an emergency response mechanism and incident command system, conducting damage and loss assessment, as well as in rescue and evacuation management.  These skills will enable them to mitigate and better response to natural disasters and thereby reduce vulnerability of the local population in Baghlan and Badakshan.  The training is led by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center – a leading disaster risk management training institution in the region.

Dr. Mohmammad Daim Kakar, General Director of ANDMA, inaugurated the event officially and stated that this training is a great learning opportunity for the government and he urged the participants to ensure that they implement what they learn during training at the provincial level where most emergency responses are coordinated. He expressed appreciation to FOCUS for their commitment to build capacity of government as well as to USAID for supporting such an important initiative.  Mrs. Ruby Ajanee, Executive Officer of FOCUS, then addressed the attendees on behalf of USAID and stressed on the value of such trainings to prepare all relevant stakeholders for emergency response in Afghanistan given the high levels of disaster risk in the country. Mr. Irfan Maqbool, Head of the Department for Safer Planning and Implementation at ADPC in his introductory remarks, expressed ADPC’s commitment to building the capacity of governments in the region and to partnering with ANDMA and FOCUS in the future.

This training is part of FOCUS’ Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Aga Khan Foundation USA.

FOCUS has been working with USAID for the last five years to implement comprehensive community-based disaster risk reduction initiatives in over 90 highly vulnerable communities, through risk identification, awareness-raising, small-scale mitigation projects, training of community volunteers, as well as providing technical capacity building support to local disaster management institutions in Afghanistan.