“Three weeks of intensive emergency preparedness and response training in the Americas”: As part of the constant need for emergency specialists to train and keep ready for the next emergency, members of urban search and rescue teams and staff from national disaster management agencies of the Americas region met in Costa Rica in August during a 6- day OSOCC operations course (14-19.08.) hosted by CEPREDENAC (the Central Americas regional disaster management organisation) and supported by the Government of Costa Rica, the National Fire Academy, as well as OCHA, the USA and Chile.
Immediately after this first training course, OCHA also gathered the regional UNDAC team and operational support partners in a specially adapted OSOCC operations course (22-26.08.), which included a joint earthquake response simulation exercise with the Government of Costa Rica. The response for the last earthquake in Ecuador and the OSOCC methodology provided a key opportunity to discuss and learn among participants, which also included Telecoms Sans Frontières as well as MapAction and OCHA ROLAC. OCHA also supported the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO)/WHO to run the ensuing Emergency Medical Team Coordination Course (known as CICOM in the Americas) from 29.08-2.09. All three courses took place in the recently inaugurated “Academia regional centroamericana de búsqueda y rescate” (AC-BYR).