The Foreign Service Journal, February 2003
tion; and (6) plan for the long run when evacuated — the average evacuation now lasts from three to four months. Here in Washington, having the evacuated CLOs work out of the FLO office for the duration of an evacuation has proved a very effec- tive “best practice.” Evacuated CLOs have instant credibility in the evacuee community and they are acutely sensitive to the issues affect- ing the community. The CLOs are invaluable in maintaining a sense of community for the evacuees; they organize social events for those in the Washington area and write regular e-mail newsletters to evacuees at safe havens around the U.S. and the world. CLOs have also organized “chill and chat” sessions, where State Department mental health professionals come to meetings with parents and children in an infor- mal group setting to discuss issues of concern arising from evacuations. FSJ: Do you anticipate a need, or do you have plans, to devote more of FLO’s resources to evacuations? FB: When a major evacuation happens, the entire FLO staff drops their regular portfolios and focuses on the crisis at hand. Our philoso- phy is that it is most important to take care of the individuals in the cri- sis situation, so everything else takes a back seat. If there is a need for more assistance in FLO, we have made plans with the Office of Casualty Assistance to call upon their trained volunteers. FSJ: Given the changed global environment, with a proliferation of danger zones, do you foresee an expand- ed workload for FLO? FB: In a word, yes! F O C U S 38 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 3 Our philosophy is that it is most important to take care of the individuals in the crisis situation, so everything else takes a back seat.
Made with FlippingBook