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Comprehensive Disaster Response: Much more than short-term humanitarian relief

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 00:00 | Atlanta, GA


Disaster logistics and rehabilitation experts Abrar Ismail (Pakistan Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority) and Todd Shea (Compregensive Disaster Relief Services) will lead a presentation and lively discussion about emergency disaster response and long-term disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction. This event is hosted by the Georgia Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (HHS) with the Pakistani Student Association (PSA). For a video of the presentation, click here.

WHEN: Friday, November 14, 11AM
WHERE: Executive Classroom, Main ISyE Bldg (see bldg 57 on map, across Ferst Street from Campus Rec Center)
Stewart School of Systems & Industrial Engineering (ISyE)

*Parking is available in the W3 Visitor’s lot just next to the Main ISyE Building to the south of Groseclose on Ferst Drive.


Abrar Ismail is the Director of Projects and the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority of Pakistan and an accomplished disaster manager. He started his career in the Pakistan Army as a lieutenant in the Infantry, occupying his role in the Pakistan Army as a first responder during disasters, both man-made and natural. He served as coordinator for Afghan refugees at Camp Shamshatu, which housed a half-million displaced Afghan refugees in 1988 after the Soviet-Afghan War. He worked as a rescue and relief officer during the 1992 floods in Pakistan that inundated 60% of agricultural land in Punjab province (the backbone of Pakistan's economy). In 2001, Abrar also took part as a first responder to provide relief and rescue to an earthquake in the Gilgit Baltistan region in Northern Pakistan. Greatly effected by the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, Abrar retired early from the Army and joined the disaster management effort permanently. Since that time, he has performed as chief logistics officer during "Operation Life Line," the largest Peacetime airlift and relief and rescue operations of the decade, covering an area the size of Switzerland. After the emergency phase of operations, he took charge of a large transitional shelter project. During the reconstruction phase he oversaw the completion of large projects which built 500,000 houses, 50 schools, 15 health facilities and rehabilitated the completely destroyed town of Balakot, housing over 5000 families.

Abrar holds an MPhil in Development Studies from Pakistan and is a graduate from Asia Pacific Center for Security studies in Hawaii. He also holds certificates in disaster and emergency management from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, GA Tech, Kobe University Japan and METU, Turkey. Due to his meritorious services and devotion to serving Humanity, Abrar was presented with one of Pakistan's highest honors, The Medal of Honor (Tamgha-I-Imtiaz) in 2013.


Todd Shea is the founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS). His disaster response experience began in the hours and days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when he provided supplies and medicines to firefighters, National Guard troops and other first responders at "Ground Zero" in New York City. He then went on to volunteer in Sri Lanka after the disastrous tsunami in 2004 and in then worked as a logistics coordinator and animal rescuer in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. On the day he returned from his deployment in New Orleans, a devastating earthquake happened in Pakistan and he immediately joined a group of Pakistani American doctors who were deploying to the disaster zone in Northern Pakistan. Since then he has been working in Pakistan to assist people who have been affected by natural disasters and conflict. In 2010 he initiated a mission to deploy doctors in Haiti to help those affected by the devastating earthquake, in early 2011 he provided disaster relief services to tsunami victims in Japan, assisted in the coordination of relief during Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012 and deployed to The Philippines to provide logistical support to several Humanitarian organizations responding to Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Todd and his team at CDRS are currently deploying two emergency response missions to mobile medical teams to support the basic healthcare needs of families who have been forced to flee their homes due to floods in Punjab and due to the war between the Pakistan Army and The Taliban in North Waziristan. Todd has received many honors and commendations for his relief work, including The Medal of Sacrifice from Pakistan and The Humanitarian Effort of the Year award for 2014 by the Pakistan Achievement Awards for The UK and Europe.

  • CDRS home build
    CDRS home build
  • CDRS health
    CDRS health
  • Abrar Ismail
    Abrar Ismail
  • Todd Shea, CDRS
    Todd Shea, CDRS