Emergency Preparation & Response in Laos
ARTICLE – THIS FIRST APPEARED IN THE REDR AUSTRALIA NEWSLETTER
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is subject to many disasters during the wet season (July—October) ranging flooding, landslides, and the impact of large scatterings of unexploded munitions from the Second Indochina War. The country is rated the 42nd most vulnerable country to climate change, citing high sensitivity and exposure to climate related hazards, and a low capacity to cope with the impacts of weather variables.
Throughout its monsoon season the landscape is embattled with floods, causing destruction, displacement of people, and loss of life. This severely affects the food security of many communities, and heightens the chance of disease and epidemics.
Assisting the ongoing humanitarian response, RedR Australia’s Training Manager Alan Johnson is working with WFP as Head of Emergency Preparedness and Response Officer in Vientiane, Laos.
For the last 100 days Alan has been involved in a multitude of responsibilities, ranging from Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) trips, development of preparedness and response SOP’s, to staff training & capacity building.
Alan also oversaw Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in Laos’ Phonxai District, where Food for Activities (FFA) were implemented. Throughout the seven villages they visited, Alan was involved in highlighting issues of importance, such as road and dyke strengthening and expansion to prevent future flooding, and further drainage work to mitigate the impact on communities of future flooding
Beyond this, Alan has also been involved in training humanitarian staff in Laos across a variety of areas.
In July, EPR refresher training exercises were conducted for 18 staff members ranging across the Luangnamtha and Oudomxay provinces. These were essential to educate participants on WFP responsibilities, Laos’ disaster management structure, coordination secretariat overview, and the overall coordination and response methods of international organisations.
In August, an Emergency, Preparation and Response (EPR) training was held for 18 Vientiane staff, which focused on knowledge and skills relative to ERP, DRRM, and emergency simulations where participants used Emergency Needs Assessment templates in WFP Emergency Response Teams
In September, a Training of Trainers on Preparedness and Response was held for 24 Government of Lao participants (GoL). Throughout the training, participants were challenged with a simulated flooding emergency where, over two districts, 75,000 were affected. Those being trained had to engage and formulate a response regarding food insecurity, shelters, school, medical centres, water and hygiene.
Beyond this, Alan also continues to represent WFP in coordination meetings regarding the Food Security Cluster, Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) workshops, NGO consortium and IASC CP updates.