The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Disaster Risk Management Initiative and Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) USA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) that aims to reduce loss of life from man-made and natural disasters.
Signed in December 2013, the MOU builds on the Agreement of Cooperation that has been in place between the Ismaili Imamat and the State of California since 2009. The memorandum, “gives us an extraordinary opportunity to expand on the efforts of disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery and to assure our world can recover from all hazards,” says Mark Ghilarducci, Director of Cal OES.
The 2009 agreement led to initiatives like the AKDN ShakeOut earthquake drill. Based on California's ShakeOut, the AKDN earthquake drill was started in 2011. FOCUS coordinates it globally, and in 2013 some 327,000 people took part in 19 countries. Participation levels and geographic reach are expected to grow further in the years ahead.
AKDN, FOCUS and Cal OES each have significant experience in preparing communities for and recovering from disasters. Like the state of California, many parts of the world where the AKDN operates and where the Ismaili community is established are areas of heightened risk for earthquakes and other natural disasters.
“It's a pleasure to renew this relationship with California and we are honored for this partnership because of your expertise in emergency management and disaster mitigation,” said Dr Mahmoud Eboo, Chairman of the Ismaili Leaders' International Forum and Mawlana Hazar Imam's Principal Representative on the Agreements and Cooperation. “With your generosity and knowledge, you are helping other parts of the world.”