Traveling with a group of Emergency Management professionals from the United States, Region VI staff members David Passey and Dennis Lee recently returned from an international visit to Nicaragua where they worked with government officials to strengthen the country's emergency response plans.
At the request of the Nicaraguan government, the group, which included representatives from FEMA Headquarters, Region II, FEMA's Caribbean Area Office, and staff from the Florida Office of Emergency Management, spent a week meeting with Nicaraguan Civil Defense personnel and government scientists. After a thorough over-view of the current Nicaraguan government response plan and our own Federal Response Plan the groups began exchanging ideas for furthering Nicaragua's capabilities for response, which included emphasizing not only a coordinated response, but also the importance of a mitigation strategy.
The Nicaraguan government has recently created a system to deal with disaster prevention, mitigation, and response in their country. They were specifically seeking our help in designing a short term Emergency Operations Center (EOC) using existing space while also planning the design for a new EOC. In contrast to our own uses of an EOC, their EOC will be used on a daily basis to support their Emergency Management System, which is headed by a National Commission comprised of Ministers who oversee the Nicaraguan disaster fund.
The Region VI staff was delighted to assist the Nicaraguan government as they strive toward a comprehensive Emergency Management system and was particularly impressed at the country's willingness to grasp the importance of Mitigation. Both Passey and Lee expressed their sincere thanks to the Nicaraguan government for their hospitality and look forward to an ongoing relationship with our international partners.