PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

USAID saves Carana!

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Today (thanks to Matheu Schwenk) I had an opportunity to run a  demonstration game of AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game with some staff from USAID’s Office for US Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Yet again, of course, the poor country of Carana was struck by another devastating earthquake—something which seems to happen with alarming regularity. However, OFDA’s experienced staff were quick to respond!

USAID prepositions life-saving banana as they prepare to respond to the disaster.

USAID staff pre-position a life-saving banana as they prepare to respond to the disaster.

The teams assessed what critical supplies were needed in what districts of the capital. Transportation bottlenecks at the port and airport were promptly addressed by the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Task Force (HADR-TF), which arrived, fixed things, brought lots of stuff, airlifted supplies for the NGOs… and then declared “Mission Accomplished,” departing Carana with much military fanfare.

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HADR-TF on the march!

The government of Carana mobilized government workers and local civil society, with the President issuing a series of inspiration public statements (albeit several weeks into the crisis). The Minister of the Interior was quick to address incipient social unrest. The UN and NGOs helped to support a smooth transition from relief to development as the emergency phase was followed by a prolonged period of early recovery. The UN was particularly effective at responding to an outbreak of cholera in the slums of District 3.

Following the session we discussed the ways in which games could be used as educational and training tools, and the particular adaptability of manual gaming formats to a wide variety of needs. I certainly enjoyed myself, and I hope everyone else did too.

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