FARGO, N.D. - An eight-year-old partnership took a new step this week as the head of a Ghana disaster organization and a Ghana military leader visited North Dakota.
The North Dakota National Guard forged a relationship with the African country through the Department of Defense-sponsored State Partnership Program, which began for the two partners in 2003.
One of the major geographical similarities between North Dakota and Ghana is a common occurrence of flooding.
Leaders from both sides have learned from one another during visits and workshops. However, this is the first time 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 has trained during 15 years in his current role.
Ghana army Col. Isaac Mensah Tetteh, director of land operations at the Ghana Army General Headquarters, is also visiting.
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 the geographic information system, 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.
The visit included an overview and tour at State Radio, the Department of Emergency Services and the Burleigh County and Bismarck Emergency Operations Center, North Dakota Department of Health Incident Command Center and Bismarck State College to discuss their GIS Certification Program with officials there.
Additionally, they were scheduled 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.
They were expected to travel to areas where Guard members are conducting dike patrols and on 24/7 standby as quick reaction force teams ready to respond to flood emergencies.
The visit was scheduled to conclude with a little North Dakota history and culture Friday at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Garrison Dam.