Following a series of tornadoes in Dallas in late December 2015, Disaster Management Team volunteers utilized ...

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USA | FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance



FOCUS has supported more than 1,300 US volunteers in first aid, CPR and AED skills training

FOCUS USA has been providing disaster risk management programs and emergency humanitarian relief to vulnerable communities in the U.S. and around the world for more than 25 years, including response and recovery efforts following Hurricanes Harvey and Laura as well the recent wildfires in California.


Pandemic Response and Humanitarian Support

FOCUS USA has provided disaster risk management programmes and emergency humanitarian relief to vulnerable communities in the USA and around the world for more than 25 years. Our work includes response and recovery efforts following Hurricanes Harvey and Laura and the recent wildfires in California, and support for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The day after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, FOCUS USA was asked to help support national vaccination efforts. In partnership with the Shia Imami Ismaili Council for the United States, we worked with FEMA and local public health offices to provide medical and administrative support for vaccination sites in Texas, California, Illinois, Georgia, and Washington. FOCUS USA and the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States also donated half a million reusable face masks to the City of Houston in Texas.

Following the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan in 2021, FOCUS USA and the regional councils have supported donation drives for newly arrived Afghan families.

Disaster Management Team volunteers receive training in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillators (AED) skills.


Preparedness and Mitigation Initiatives

FOCUS USA’s preparedness and mitigation initiatives involve supporting communities and training volunteers to prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters.

Preparing Communities

To ensure that individuals and families, in particular the elderly and vulnerable, know what to do during disasters and are self-sufficient for at least 72 hours after a disaster, we promote the first basic key steps for preparedness:

  1. make a plan;

  2. ensure insurance policies are updated;

  3. build or buy an emergency kit; and

  4. stay informed.

The FOCUS USA Family Emergency Plan (FEP) helps families identify how they will communicate with one another during a disaster, determine how they will evacuate their home and establish where they will meet if they are separated. We encourage them to buy or build a 72-hour emergency kit of essential items, have a “go-to bag” of critical documents, medications and supplies, stay informed and subscribe to emergency alerts.

We support Disaster Management Teams (DMTs) to run local hazard drills at community centres. Early warning systems and procedures are in place to alert communities of issues and conduct rapid assessment to ensure their safety.

Training Volunteers

We train DMT volunteers and their teams in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) skills and global best practice in emergency management. Over 1,300 volunteers have received this training across the country.

Volunteers engage in regional simulation exercises to test their decision-making and response capacities so that they are better prepared to respond to actual incidents.

We also coordinate advanced training to help develop specialised volunteers, under a Memorandum of Understanding with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

FOCUS USA and Canada’s Disaster Management volunteers debrief during the first North American simulation exercise, which aimed to assess cross-border response capacity, February 2016.


Response Activities

The USA is at risk of a range of weather-related emergencies including thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes, severe winter weather, hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires. We respond to these disasters by using early warning system technologies such as mass communication tools and advanced mapping of critical infrastructure. We collaborate with DMT volunteers to help communities, particularly vulnerable populations, respond to and recover from such incidents and disasters.

Cal OES Secretary Mark Ghilarducci joins the Aga Kahn Development Network and Firoz Verjee, Disaster Risk Managment Coordinator and Shahin Karim, Focus Humanitarian Assistance USA Chair in signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the AKDN and Cal OES.

California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

External Partnerships

In October 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Office recognised FOCUS USA as a special partner during the 2021 national COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

In December 2013, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the AKDN-Disaster Risk Management Initiative and Focus Humanitarian Assistance USA. This was an informal agreement to reduce the risk of, and respond to threats to, the public health, safety and welfare of communities at risk and strengthen the commitment to reduce loss of life and suffering due to emergencies. It allowed for more targeted and efficient delivery of goods and services by formalising 24-hour contacts with the state government.

In August 2012, FOCUS USA was invited to attend the National Preparedness Month Proclamation signing ceremony with former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal at the State Capitol in Atlanta. The governor declared September National Preparedness Month in the State of Georgia, encouraging Americans to prepare for emergencies and educating the public on how to prepare for natural disasters and mass casualties.