Brigadier General Stayce D. Harris, mobilization reserve assistant to the commander wrote
In June, I returned from the inaugural Kenya Planning and Preparedness Work Plan Development Workshop hosted by U.S. Africa Command and the Kenyan National Disaster Operational Centre. I want to thank Permanent Secretary Mondoh for his sustained commitment of our cooperative work along with the government of Kenya, the Kenyan National Disaster Operational Centre, our staff at the U.S. Embassy and the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine for working with us to coordinate and organize this important partnering event.
It was an honor to be among experts with experience in the field of emergency management and disaster response from so many ministries, governmental and non-governmental agencies. The goal was to support the Kenyan government with improving their emergency management system by determining goals, end states, processes, priorities and resources needed as well as helping solidify the ongoing relationship-building needed across ministries and agencies to support the people of Kenya during a crisis.
This Disaster Planning and Preparedness initiative began in September of 2009, in collaboration and partnership with U.S. Africa Command’s Pandemic Response Program and a number of partner nations with the role to assist and strengthen our African partners’ national and military capacity to respond to crises using a whole of government approach. The Government of Kenya took a leadership role, consenting to be the first country to work with the program during this pilot phase. Key emergency management themes included the importance of preparedness activities, command and control in multi-jurisdictional disasters and the facilitation of regional cooperation during crises.
We look forward to a continued partnership with the Government of Kenya to advance this critical and important initiative. What was learned will assist the Disaster Planning and Preparedness Program, as well as U.S. Africa Command, to improve our processes to become better prepared to support the disaster preparedness needs of our African partners. As requested by Permanent Secretary Kimemia at the opening of the National Emergency Management System Review, this was a true “work shop”, not a “talk shop”. The results will be a road map for use by the government to strengthen Kenyan national emergency management systems.
Permanent Secretary Mondoh mentioned droughts are one of Kenya’s biggest challenges along with recent floods and other incidents in the nation. The critical importance of the holistic approach that governments must take to mitigate the effects of emergencies highlight the purpose of this week. It was an honor to represent General Carter Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa Command and Major General Harry Polumbo, Director, J5 at this important partnering event.