On the week of March 28th - April 1st, a delegation of Magen David Adom visited the American Red Cross. Alon Friedman, head of the logistics division, Ronen Bashari, director of the Jerusalem region, Ori Shaham, deputy head of the procurement department and Chaim Rafalowski, MDA Disaster Management coordinator, started their journey in the American Red Cross (ARC) National Headquarters in Washington DC. The packed program consisted of 2 days and a half of briefings by the director of the different departments of the national disaster services on the way the ARC organizes mass care, works with other partners to provide the services, coordinates with government agencies, prepares and deploys stuff and volunteers, among other issues. Discussions with the ARC international department on lessons learned from MDA-ARC cooperation in the deployment to Haiti and possibilities for future cooperation. The team met with high ranking officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and with representatives from the state department.The team had the opportunity to give a presentation to the National Head Quarters staff and volunteers, on MDA activities - nationally and internationally, a presentation that was privileged with a very active participation.
The team moved to the Regional Chapter of Greater Huston in Texas, where they met with the chapter's management, got to know the assets available to the chapter's response - the Emergency Response Vehicle, the Emergency Communication Response Vehicle, as well as the stockpiles in the warehouses run by the ARC volunteers. The team participated in shelter management training, visited a community branch, having the opportunity to have a firsthand experience of the relief operations in the field. MDA team was on call for 2 nights to respond with the Huston chapter Disaster Action Team to any disaster, that fortunately did not occur.
This meeting was another step in the ongoing cooperation between Magen David Adom and the American Red Cross, sharing experiences, knowledge and lessons learned, in order to achieve the ultimate common goal of saving lives and alleviating human suffering