The idea of organizing Helping Hand for Relief and Development’s (HHRD) first Global Emergency Summit came to fruition over the course of several months. Thanks to HHRD’s CEO, Javaid Siddiqui’s initiative, and the joint effort between our international Emergency Response and Disaster Management (ERDM) teams and US ERDM teams, we were able to host our first summit on November 8th and 9th, 2021. The goal of the Global Emergency Response Summit was to understand how the ERDM department can increase its capabilities and capacity to respond to disasters and emergencies.
Furthermore, we wanted to familiarize all HHRD staff with ERDM procedures and standards. It is one thing to be aware of the emergency campaigns, but it is another thing to understand the procedures, standards, and challenges that each ERDM department faces in their response coordination.
Since 2005, Helping Hand has responded to over 94 major emergencies and has benefited over 6 million beneficiaries. The Emergency Response and Disaster Management Program has operated in over 21 countries and territories.
We have faced many successes and many challenges during each of our campaigns. Sometimes our ERDM teams would go in the fields and there would be no places to sleep- they would have to sleep in their means of transportation. These situations are very humbling and show us how many vulnerable populations around the world need relief and continuous aid. We are committed to serving humanity by contributing resources to people in need and we strive to provide effective emergency responses to disasters.
The summit included presentations from all our HHRD ERDM international teams which included: MENA (Middle East and North Africa), ASEAN (Asian and Southeast Asia), Nepal, Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, etc.), LAC (Latin America, Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Haiti, and South America).
Each presentation highlighted past and present campaigns as well as the challenges and accomplishments. Each international Emergency Relief and Disaster Management team also discussed their future- what type of resources, equipment, funding, and training they will need to reach their vision of ERDM.
In the future, we hope to hold two Global Emergency Response Summits every year. In 2022, the goal is to have it one before Ramadan hosted by an international team and one towards the end of the year hosted by the US team. This next summit will be hosted by our Pakistan ERDM team and will focus on ERDM global program/team building, disaster resilience, and ERDM preparedness, response and mitigation Initiatives.
With all of our joint efforts, in the US and internationally, HHRD can better prepare for future emergencies and disasters.
Sidra Roa is an HHRD staff member and serves as a support staff to our Emergency Response and Disaster Management Team. She was the co-coordinator for this year’s summit.