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Heads of African Disaster Organization, Military to Tour ND Flood

FARGO, N.D. -- An eight-year-old partnership will take a new step this week as the head of a Ghana disaster organization and a Ghana military leader visit North Dakota. The North Dakota National Guard forged a relationship with the African country through the Department of Defense-sponsored State Partnership Program. One major similarity between the partners is a propensity toward flooding.

Since the partnership began in 2003, Ghana and North Dakota leaders have learned from one another during visits and workshops. This is the first time, however, that a trip by Ghana leadership has been planned to North Dakota to coincide with a flood response.

Kofi Portuphy serves as the national coordinator for the National Disaster Management Agency, or NADMO. The agency is similar to FEMA, with which he also has trained during his 15 years in his current role. Col. Isaac Mensah Tetteh also is visiting. He serves as the director of land operations at the General Headquarters for the Ghana Army.

The men started the week visiting senior Guard leaders and touring the Joint Operations Center in Bismarck. They also learned about the North Dakota National Guard's use of geographic information system (GIS), toured the State and Local Intelligence Center and visited with members of the 81st Civil Support Team, which is responsible for immediate response to threats in the state.

Today's visit includes an overview and tour at State Radio, the Department of Emergency Services and the Burleigh County and Bismarck Emergency Operations Center. Tomorrow, they will visit the North Dakota Department of Health Incident Command Center and visit with Bismarck State College officials on their GIS Certification Program.

On Thursday, they will travel to Fargo to tour Joint Task Force-East, the operations center established to manage the response for both the North Dakota Army National Guard and Air National Guard in the eastern portion of the state. The entourage also will be briefed on operations throughout the area as they travel to areas where Guardsmen are conducting dike patrols and on 24/7 standby as quick reaction force teams ready to respond to flood emergencies.

They will have the chance to experience a little North Dakota history and culture Friday at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Garrison Dam before returning home to Ghana.

MEDIA: Members of the media are invited to cover the Ghana leadership's visit to Joint Task Force-East, the operations center for North Dakota Army and Air National Guard.

WHERE: North Dakota Air National Guard, 1400 32nd Ave. N., Fargo, N.D.

WHEN: The briefing will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 14. Media: Please call Amy at 701-412-6895 to let her know if you plan to attend. She will escort you onto base at 9:45 a.m. Thursday.

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