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Notes from the Field: 1st Day in Pakistan

Christophe Lobry-Boulanger from the American Red Cross has been deployed to work on the floods in Pakistan and is posting at the New York Chapter’s blog.

It is the first day in country, but actually the second day of the deployment really.

The first day of the mission actually started last week already, the moment we were told that an American Emergency Response Unit was going to join the relief operation and that we were on the list. From that moment on, we started to get briefed and educate and prepare ourselves on the disaster, on the country and its particularities. Those days are dedicated on getting our lives ready, personal and professional, including shots, vaccinations, following updates more closely, etc…It is also comforting to know that former friends and colleagues for previous deployments are waiting for us on the ground. Although I have never been in Pakistan yet, it is not terra incognita..

Yet, last Friday was spent in Washington at Headquarters for briefings, operational, security, logistics, equipment, gear, etc. Departure from Dulles Airport Friday night at 11:00pm and got us to Islamabad Sunday morning at 3:30 in the morning.

First hours to get ourselves situated and after a few hours of sleep, security and operational briefing with Federation operational leadership. As team leader, I am sensing the importance of representing the American Red Cross and of its role and expectations within the Movement.

The learning curve might be steep already, but will likely become steeper in the next few days (meeting with Pakistan Red Crescent leadership tomorrow).

>> More information about the Pakistan National Red Crescent Society

>> You can donate to Pakistan relief via the American Red Cross

>> American Red Cross Increases Pakistan Flood Support to $5 million

>> Senior Vice President for International Affairs discusses Pakistan [YouTube]