Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Supports Kenya’s First Mass Casualty Incident Simulation Exercise

Humanitarian Peace Support School

U.S. Embassy Nairobi, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), supported Kenya’s first Mass Casualty Incident Exercise on October 9.  The simulation took place at the Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS) and included a controlled inter-agency disaster response simulation and a practical session on how to improve disaster management.

“The U.S. is committed to supporting the preparedness in Kenya, and the support has continued to grow, particularly after the U.S. Embassy bombings in 1998, when it became apparent that Kenya needed to strengthen emergency medical services,” said Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection John Neatherlin.

In Kenya, first responders react to emergency situations resulting from various disasters including: explosions, building collapses, mud slides and acts of terrorism.  The diversity and complexity of these emergencies necessitate an interdisciplinary and inter-agency response.  Civilian agencies are the first responders, with the military included based on the nature of the disaster.  This was clearly seen during the Westgate Mall attack in 2013.  However, military and civilian agencies rarely plan or practice emergency response procedures together despite having to work together at the most severe of disaster scenes.  The exercises focused on the critical need for more joint inter-agency planning and practice.  Lessons learned from the exercise will be incorporated into the development of a Kenyan inter-agency response plan.