Last Tuesday, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate met Maj. Gen. Eyal Eizenberg, the current commanding general of Israel’s Home Front Command, who is visiting the United States for a series of key governmental meetings.
The Home Front Command and Israel’s National Emergency Management Authority (FEMA’s Israeli counterpart) have collaborated with us for over four years under an memorandum of understanding with DHS. The MOU provides the mechanism through which FEMA and Israel established an Emergency Management Working Group.
The working group seeks to develop exchanges of information and support between the two countries as they strengthen their emergency management systems to respond to disasters. Representatives from FEMA and NEMA meet annually to evaluate the past year’s activities under the MOU and identify items of interest for the year to come.
This meeting focused on national preparedness and developing resilient communities and families. Both countries face a wide variety of disasters and crises challenges. Israel is prone to earthquakes, droughts and wild land fires. In 2011, massive wild land fires ravaged Israel’s northern areas.
FEMA, HFC and NEMA have key missions to develop and implement programs that help all sectors of society to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Maj. Gen. Eizenberg shared new initiatives in Israel involving family preparedness that include looking at ways of working with families to enhance resiliency through education and training, while Administrator Fugate discussed the whole community initiative that FEMA has implemented.
The visit to FEMA headquarters was the first for Maj. Gen. Eizenberg, who praised the relationship between the two agencies.
The meeting served as a precursor to the 2012 FEMA-Israel Emergency Management Working Group meeting, scheduled for April in Washington.