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Emergency Response and Recovery Branch - About Us

What We Do: Provide Public Health Expertise in Emergencies

The Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB) has a longstanding commitment to building public health capacity globally during—and after—humanitarian emergencies like war, famine, civil strife, natural disaster, genocide, and displacement. Our experts travel the world to work with populations affected by emergencies.

The branch is responsible for implementing and coordinating CDC’s responses to international complex humanitarian emergencies, as requested by the U.S. government, United Nations agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Our Health Systems Recovery Team responds to post-emergency situations and supports countries without basic public health systems whenever and wherever we are needed.

For more information on the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch, see the Emergency Response and Recovery Fact Sheet [502 KB, 2 Pages] .

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How We Do It

A large group of children wait for food rations during a nutrition emergency in Wajir County, Kenya, 2011.

A large group of children wait for food rations during a nutrition emergency in Wajir County, Kenya, 2011.

We work within the Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP), which supports CDC global efforts to strengthen public health systems abroad and build essential infrastructure in host countries. Our branch works to bring public health and epidemiologic principles to the aid of populations affected by complex humanitarian emergencies. Our experts have a broad range of skills in applied epidemiology, health assessments, surveillance activities, and field investigations. Our work focuses on 5 main areas:

  • Investigations: Provide technical assistance, including rapid health and nutrition assessments, public health surveillance, epidemic investigations, disease prevention and control, program evaluation and emergency preparedness.
  • Planning: Develop, implement and disseminate findings from operational research projects aimed at developing more effective public health interventions
  • Training: Design, implement, and evaluate training activities to strengthen the capacity of CDC, other US government agencies, international and private voluntary organizations, other governments, and public health students
  • Guidelines: Develop and disseminate guidelines on public health issues and technical areas
  • Partnerships: Establish and maintain relationships with strategic multi-national, international and non-governmental partners
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Why It’s Important

Today’s crises demand experts who can jump into health emergencies and provide necessary skills and leadership. From improving surveillance during an Ebola response, to developing mass immunization campaigns, to setting up surveillance systems days after a major earthquake, to evaluating feeding programs in post-conflict settings, we are on the scene.

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Where We Work

We have staff ready to deploy where and whenever they are needed to provide evidence-based subject matter expertise in emergencies and during reconstruction efforts. We also provide support to countries without adequate public health systems in post-emergency settings, such as Haiti and three West Africa countries (Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia) that were heavily affected by the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Learn more about where we work…

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Fast Facts

  • There are over 51 million refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people worldwide, according to the United Nations
  • 50 humanitarian crises each year, on average, are responded to by the branch
  • 30 technical staff in the branch with expertise in critical areas of emergency response: health, nutrition, infectious diseases, mental health, reproductive health, surveillance, coordination, logistics, and water, sanitation and hygiene
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Our Organization

Our branch is organized to respond quickly to crises around the world and provide expertise to support our many partners, whether it is supporting their headquarters offices through liaison positions, or directly in the field. Learn more about our partners…

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