USAID/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

  • DC



United States

About Us

The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is the office within USAID that is responsible for providing emergency non-food humanitarian assistance in response to international crises and disasters.  OFDA is part of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) and is organized into six divisions.


The Africa and the Asia, Latin America, Europe (ALE) Divisions are responsible for the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance through a grants mechanism to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations (IOs) including the United Nations (UN) agencies and to other partners to ensure the implementation and delivery of this assistance.  These Divisions also oversee OFDA’s non-response efforts in disaster risk reduction and resilience.  Africa and ALE also coordinate with other organizations for the provision of relief supplies and assistance. They devise, coordinate and implement program strategies for a variety of natural and human caused disaster situations. Both Divisions encompass groups of technical sector specialists who provide technical expert capability in assessing the quality of disaster response and risk reduction activities. 


The Operations Division (OPS) develops and manages logistical and operational support for disaster responses and administrative support to all offices and operations.  OPS maintains readiness to respond to emergencies through several mechanisms, including managing Search and Rescue Teams (SAR), coordinating and supporting Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs), and Washington-based Response Management Teams (RMTs), to ensure OFDA’s capacity to execute and coordinate U.S. Government (USG) humanitarian assistance and response to natural disasters and complex emergencies.  OPS performs these functions through four teams, namely, the Disaster Assistance Support Team (DASP), Operations Support Team (OST), Overseas Administration Team (OAT), and the Military Liaison Team (MLT).  OPS provides technical guidance and expertise in Disaster Logistics, Search and Rescue, Operations Center Management, Military Liaison, and Consequence Management.  It also provides overseas support to OFDA offices and personnel and to other sectors necessary to ensure OFDA’s capacity to execute and coordinate USG humanitarian assistance and response to natural disasters and complex emergencies.


The Program Support (PS) Division provides operational management support, including general administration, budget and financial  services, procurement  planning, information technology (IT), human resources management including staff care, and contract and grant administration support to OFDA.  The PS Division supports OFDA's mandate by providing innovative solutions for IT, staffing, funds control, budgeting, information and human resource management, and procurement to facilitate timely disaster responses.


The Preparation, Strategic Planning and Mitigation (PSPM) Division is responsible for the technical oversight of all OFDA response and mitigation programs, as well as preparation and strategic planning for response, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction activities. The PSPM Division houses technical experts in all sectors potentially affected by disasters, and leads the Agency in developing and promoting best practices for programming in these specific sectors. In addition, PSPM will be the focal point for technological innovations for humanitarian assistance in areas such as monitoring and evaluation, assessment, and information management.


The Humanitarian Policy and Global Engagement (HPGE) Division assists the DCHA front office, the OFDA Director and OFDA Deputy Director with tracking trends and policy developments in the humanitarian assistance field.  It engages in policy dialogue with other parts of USAID, the USG interagency, other donors, multilateral agencies, and NGO partners; recommends strategies for action to DCHA; initiates development of policy and internal guidance for OFDA; maintains global relationships with implementing partners, other donors, and the broader humanitarian architecture; engages with the U.N. to advance USG humanitarian policy objectives and to promote humanitarian principles within the USG and internationally.   The HPGE Division leads OFDA's communications and social media outreach to effectively communicate OFDA’s story to a variety of strategic audiences; and serves as the office’s primary interlocutor on strategic issues with other federal partners to provide guidance to OFDA on policy issues pertaining to the interagency, and to improve USG humanitarian coordination and response during large-scale crises. The HPGE Division has staff that manage global programs, policy and outreach, strategic communications, and interagency engagement. The HPGE Division also includes Humanitarian Advisors located in Rome, Geneva, and United States Mission to the UN in New York.

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