U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)
FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are highly vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, landslides, volcanoes, and drought. In addition, disasters triggered by environmental and industrial incidents, such as forest fires and chemical and oil spills, pose a potential threat. At times, El Niño Southern Oscillation meteorological events and poor land use management exacerbate the effects of potential hazards. Several countries in the region are also vulnerable to civil unrest and associated humanitarian consequences.
Recognizing vulnerabilities in the LAC region, USAID/OFDA supports disaster preparedness and mitigation programs aimed at reducing loss of human life, alleviating suffering, and reducing the economic impact of disasters. These programs include risk identification, prioritization, and reduction, as well as post-disaster recovery and short-term rehabilitation projects. In the LAC region, USAID/OFDA promotes local and national self-sufficiency in disaster preparedness and management. USAID/OFDA's programs build upon and strengthen the capacity of established national and regional disaster management institutions, many of which already have the ability to meet most emergency needs after an event.
Established in 1989, the Regional Disaster Assistance Program (RDAP) is the primary vehicle for USAID/OFDA's support of disaster risk management in LAC. Over the years, as the capacity of disaster management personnel and governments in LAC countries increased, USAID/OFDA shifted from a strictly instructional approach to providing more technical assistance for planning, strengthening, and centralizing the role of national organizations in disaster management. USAID/OFDA's technical assistance enhances local and regional abilities to respond to emergency needs by increasing understanding of disaster preparedness and mitigation activities, as well as encouraging intra and inter-governmental coordination in all risk management initiatives. In many LAC countries, disaster management training is conducted entirely by national trainers, with USAID/OFDA providing only technical assistance.
The RDAP and other preparedness programs are overseen and monitored by USAID/OFDA's team of five regional advisors based in San José, Costa Rica, and a consultant network of 21 disaster management specialists dispersed throughout the region. USAID/OFDA regional advisors and consultants are available for immediate deployment to conduct damage and needs assessments in response to disasters and to help coordinate the U.S. Government emergency response activities, if required. USAID/OFDA supports the development of risk management in LAC through a wide rang of programs. In total, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $81 million for preparedness and mitigation activities in LAC, including more than $18.1 million for new and ongoing programs in FY 2009.
PREPAREDNESS AND MITIGATION ASSISTANCE IN THE LAC REGION
USAID/OFDA Assistance in FY 2009:
USAID/OFDA Cumulative Assistance for Active Programs: $81,581,463