KIRAN MAULANA HUSNI
Becoming an intern at the AHA Centre was an unforgettable experience for me. During my three-month communications internship programme, I learned how the Centre manages disasters and provides humanitarian assistance in the region. I am certain that the knowledge I gained from the internship programme will be very useful in my future career development.
My name is Kiran Maroep Maulana Husni, I am 22 years old, a student at Telkom University, Indonesia, majoring in International ICT Business. I was born and raised in Tasikmalaya, West Java, Indonesia, but currently live in Serpong, Tangerang Selatan.
My journey as a communications intern at the AHA Centre started in June 2021 when I saw an internship advertised on the AHA Centre’s website. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to gain experience working in a regional organisation. Realising that disaster management was a new field for me, I challenged myself to apply for that position. To be honest it felt like a gamble for me applying for an internship with an organisation and in a field with which I had no previous experience. Eventually, I submitted my application and waited for word back.
In July, I received an email from the AHA Centre asking me whether I was still interested in the programme, I replied, “Yes, definitely!” Long story short, I was invited to an online interview and a few weeks later I was told that I was hired as a communications intern and my starting date was 2nd August.
As a communications intern, under the supervision of Mr. Moch Syifa, the Communications Officer, my main responsibilities were assisting in conducting media monitoring and social media planning. Social media planning was not a new field for me as I had experience from my previous organisation. However, again, planning social media content on disaster-management issues was a big challenge. At the beginning, I had to conduct online research on disaster-management issues in ASEAN to broaden my knowledge. I learned many new specific and very technical terms during my research, which was a bit stressful.
Aside from assisting in social media planning and media monitoring, I also had the opportunity to join in several important events, such as the opening ceremony of Batch Seven of the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme, the Fourth EU-ASEAN Cooperation and Scholarship Day, and other meetings with partners, consultants and suppliers. During the meetings, I learned a lot about how the Centre works together with other partners and stakeholders.
Managing communications, particularly for a regional organisation like the AHA Centre, is not easy. I discovered that mapping the audience is significant in order to develop strategies and content for social media. From the media monitoring activity, I learned that studying conversations on social media and in mainstream media was crucial to understanding whether our communications strategies were well implemented or needed some improvements.
Finally, I would like to thank the AHA Centre for giving me opportunities and presenting me with challenges during my internship programme, it has given me strength and widened my knowledge. Thank you Mr. Syifa, as my supervisor, for being patient as you accompanied me on my learning journey. The AHA Centre expanded my knowledge and experience, especially given that I was new to disaster management. I would recommend that other students also apply for internship programmes at the Centre, since they will gain a lot of precious knowledge.
Written by : Kiran Maulana Husni | Photo Credit: Doc. Kiran Husni
M. SHEEDY BIN SIES
The online learning component for Batch Seven of the ACE Programme will soon come to an end, having covered a vast range of disaster management-related skills and information. Before I share more about the highlights of the course thus far, let me introduce myself. I am Sheedy Bin Sies, Staff Officer for Operations Resources in the Logistics Department of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), and I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to be part of the ACE Programme.
When we first began this journey with the ACE Programme in July 2021, the four-month online learning phase seemed absolutely daunting to all of us. Due to the ongoing global pandemic that prevented us from attending the course face-to-face in Jakarta, we had to adapt to the “new normal” of learning in the online environment. It was difficult to get excited about the prospect of staring at a computer screen for many hours of lessons. Little did we think how quickly time would pass during the programme. With the highly engaging and interactive lessons, and the creative activities conducted by our course administrators, the months flew by and now we are approaching the final days of the online learning component.
Overall, the ACE Programme has broadened my views on disaster management. For example, I am now more aware of sustainability, gender and inclusivity, and other cross-cutting issues to consider when implementing emergency plans or responses. These are several of the aspects to which I will pay more attention in local SCDF operations, as well as in the context of the regional response. I have also improved my communications skills during this programme. Being exposed to people with different backgrounds, areas of specialty and communication styles, has emphasized the need to speak clearly, using terminology that will be easily understood by everyone.
One of the courses that I found to be very enlightening was System and Design Thinking in Disaster Management, which was presented in partnership with the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. This course emphasized the importance of fully analysing the situation before proposing solutions, especially when faced with novel challenges. Through the use of Causal Loop development, we learnt to determine the relationships between the various components in a problem and to visualise how they affect one another.
Another course that I thought was highly applicable to us was the Project Management and Proposal Writing course facilitated by RedR Australia. This course equipped us with the tools needed to fully analyse a problem, identify suitable objectives of the project, and create a logical framework to lay out the project design in a systematic way. A key aspect of this course was the group project proposal assignment. This assignment gave us the experience of developing a full project proposal based on a case study, with the valuable guidance of our facilitators. This helped us to refine our thought process in developing a project proposal such that the project will be results-focused and consider accountability, sustainability, protection and inclusion. The lessons learnt in this course will certainly be valuable to us, as a good project proposal is essential in getting buy-in from our stakeholders to approve and support any of our future projects.
The courses that we have undertaken during the online learning phase have indeed been well planned and designed to help us build the foundations that we need to become effective future leaders in disaster management. However, above all, one aspect that I have appreciated the most is the valuable contributions of my fellow ACE Programme participants. During the numerous discussions throughout the programme, they have openly shared their past experiences in various areas of disaster management. These have given me valuable insights into the challenges faced by the various countries, as well as the best practices in overcoming them. I have also been impressed by the wealth of ideas they have presented during the many activities and presentations that we had during the programme. The ACE Programme participants have made me realise that our dedicated pool of disaster-management practitioners is the best asset that we have in building a disaster-ready and disaster-resilient ASEAN.
Written by: Muhammad Sheedy bin Sies, ACE Programme Batch Seven – Singapore| Photo Credit : Muhammad Sheedy bin Sies
STRENGTHENING GENDER-RESPONSIVE DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Recognizing that gender mainstreaming is important in disaster management, the AHA Centre has partnered in the past years with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, or UN Women. A global champion for gender equality, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on women’s and girl’s rights worldwide. Alongside other United Nations partners, UN Women’s collaborations with the AHA Centre fall under the ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management (JSPADM).
With the adoption of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response Work Programme 2021-2025, ASEAN has taken gender and social inclusion as a guiding principle for the implementation of all its disaster management work. Through an ECHO-funded programme called “Strengthening Gender-Responsive Disaster Management in ASEAN,” UN Women works in close collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Technical Working Group on Protection, Gender, and Inclusion, of which the AHA Centre is a key member, to support operationalization of this guiding principle.
The AHA Centre and UN Women have partnered to provide disaster management actors in the region with capacity strengthening on gender and social inclusion, Alongside sister agencies UNFPA and UNICEF, UN Women has delivered courses to officials from ASEAN national disaster management organizations on rapid assessments for women and children. UN Women and UNFPA also contribute to AHA Centre initiatives such as the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics Innovation Expo (HELiX) through organizing dialogues on accountability in humanitarian logistics, and providing key “musts” for hackathon participants to consider in their solutions to not widen the gender digital gap.
Building on ASEAN momentum in strengthening risk governance to become more responsive to the needs of women, girls, and marginalized groups, UN Women emphasizes the critical importance of also recognizing their roles as leaders and agents of change in disaster management. The launch of the ASEAN Regional Framework on Protection, Gender, and Inclusion in Disaster Management 2021-2025 in October 2021 marked a key step forward in this. The AHA Centre continues to have a key role to play in operationalizing target actions including for the leadership of those most impacted by disasters. For example, the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Outlook notes that women only form 25% of regional Emergency Response and Assessment Team trainers and members, even though women make up 50.1% of the ASEAN population – partnerships with organizations like UN Women can support in creating enabling environments for increasing not only the number of women on teams, but also their influence and voice.
With strong policies and strengthened capacities and understanding on gender, the next step is to implement the frameworks into concrete actions. Substantive progress has already been made to better understand the impacts of disasters on those most vulnerable. Moving forward, supporting and resourcing women’s organizations and gender machineries in the ASEAN region which have contributed to the gender-responsive disaster risk reduction is key.
As the AHA Centre enters its second decade of operations, it will continue to draw upon and exchange experiences with UN Women on gender-responsive disaster management and response, contributing to a more equal, resilient region for all.
Written by : Judith Garcia Meese | Photo Credit : Doc. UN Women
GENDER AND WOMEN’S ROLES
IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT
When typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters happen, it does not choose between age, class, race or gender. Everyone is affected. Lives are lost, properties are destroyed and communities displaced. But what many do not know is that disasters affect men, women, boys and girls in different ways with women and girls being the most vulnerable group. Consequently, the fatality rate is higher for women than men.
When the 2004 tsunami struck Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, four times as many women than men lost their lives. One reason for this was more men learned to swim and climb trees at an early age than women. During the 1991 cyclone hit Bangladesh, 90% of the victims were women between the ages of 20-49 years because their mobility was restricted due to cultural norms. As more men were at work, women were left at home when the disaster struck. Research showed that they chose to stay to protect their properties, while some prioritized the rescue of children and the elderly.
There were reports that one woman chose to stay behind in the recent volcanic eruption of Mt. Semeru in Indonesia. The woman chose to stay at home with her elderly family member instead of getting evacuated, which cost both their lives.
More and more stories like these are being reported and it highlights the gender inequality that takes place during disasters.
Socio-economic backgrounds, cultural norms and traditions are some of the reasons why women are most vulnerable during disaster management and emergencies. In developing countries, there are less opportunities for women to get education and employment. There are also more male leaders in humanitarian organization and disaster management organizations which affects planning and policy making.
The needs of men, women, boys and girls differ across class and age as do their resources and coping strategies. An example is relief efforts at one evacuation center for victims of Mt. Semeru’s eruption. Women voiced out their need for underwear since they cannot wash clothes and the need for diapers for babies.
Studies show too that during disaster emergencies, incidents of gender-based violence against women increase. It is estimated that “1 in 5 refugee or displaced women in complex humanitarian settings have experienced sexual violence.” The psychological and emotional effect on people get heightened during disasters and women often become victims of the violence.
But progress has been made in recent years to address the gender inequality. In the massive earthquake in Mexico, women formed groups and led rescue and relief efforts which hastened the recovery process. In Nepal, foreign-funded projects helped set-up women’s cooperatives to help communities get back on their feet after the big earthquake.
Developed countries are not spared gender inequalities in humanitarian response. Japan has been rocked by powerful earthquakes in the past and this has highlighted the need to recognize and protect women’s rights during disasters. Incidents of gender-based violence rise during emergencies. One report says that a woman got raped after the earthquake and reported this to the local authorities, who in turn said that she should be considerate as the man who perpetuated this was also dealing with the trauma post-earthquake. To make disaster management for gender sensitive, the Japan government sent all their local governments notification to include the needs of women and children in disaster response planning.
Disaster management needs to be gender-sensitive especially on the most vulnerable group. Gender equality needs to be recognized as early as the planning stage so that the needs of everyone are met and more lives are saved. The more gender sensitive humanitarian efforts are in light of disaster management and risk reduction, the more resilient and stronger a society will be.
Written by : Judith Garcia Meese
MONTHLY DISASTER REVIEW AND OUTLOOK
NOVEMBER 2021 | DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS
(DMA) UNIT, AHA CENTRE
GENERAL REVIEW OF NOVEMBER 2021
For the month of November 2021, a total of 145 disasters were reported. The ASEAN Member States that were affected are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Most of the disasters (84.14%) occurred in Indonesia and the highest number of affected people were also reported in Indonesia which comprise more than half of the tally for the month of November (54.45%). The share of the disaster-affected people for other ASEAN Member States are as follows: (1) Malaysia-0.20%, (2) the Philippines-1.19%, (3) Thailand-42.72%, and (4) Viet Nam-1.45%. November 2021 saw disasters affecting 144 per 100,000 people* and displacing 4 per 100,000 people* in the region, recording a 57.11% and a 77.23% lower numbers respectively compared with the previous month. November 2021 accounts for 12.06% of the total disasters (1,202) reported so far in the current year.
Most of the disasters that have occurred in November 2021 are floods (83.45%) and is consistently the most recorded type of disaster for November of the previous year and November on a five-year average (2016-2020). November 2021 saw disasters caused by hydrometeorological hazards (flood, landslides, storm, winds) affecting 99.31% of the total affected persons for the month. The reported disasters in the region for November 2021 in comparison to the historical data (average for November 2016-2020) indicates that there were 6x more reported disasters; 2.21x less people affected; 5.62x less people displaced; 1.15x more houses affected to some extent; 4.87x less lives lost; 14.06x less people suffering injuries; and lastly, 1.36x less people that have gone missing.
Geophysically, 20 significant earthquakes (Magnitude ≥ 5.0) were reported by Indonesia’s Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG), Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), and the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). In Central Maluku Indonesia, a Magnitude 5.9 earthquake affected 210 people, displaced 6 people and damaged 42 houses, 1 school, and 2 worship places. Recent volcanic activity was reported for Ili Lewotolok (Alert Level III) and Semeru, Ibu, Dukono (Alert Level II) in Indonesia, and Taal (Alert Level 2) and Kanlaon (Alert Level 1) in the Philippines.
*Computed based on 2020 population data from worldometers.com
According to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), compared to the average value from 2001-2020, during November 2021, rainfall was near-average over much Mainland Southeast Asia, above-average rainfall over southern Mainland Southeast Asia and a mix of below- to above-average for the Maritime Continent (Figure 1). The largest positive anomalies (wetter conditions) were detected over the southern Mainland Southeast Asia for both satellite-derived rainfall estimates datasets (GSMaP-NRT and CMORPH-Blended). This is resulted to flooding in Southern and Western Region of Thailand which is affected 70.8K families (353.9K people) and cost the lives of 2 individuals. Negative anomalies (drier conditions) were recorded over central Sumatra and the Philippines, with larger negative anomalies based on CMORPH-Blended data compared to GSMaP-NRT.
From the second half of the month of October 2021, the Southwest Monsoon had transitioned into the inter-monsoon period. On a climatological standpoint, inter-monsoon conditions likely prevails over the ASEAN region in November before the Northeast Monsoon conditions develop in December. Inter-monsoon conditions are characteristic of light and variable in direction prevailing winds. In terms of precipitation, the monsoon rain band will be located closer to the equator hence an increase in rainfall over the equatorial ASEAN region can be expected.
In the coming period (December 2021 to February 2022), there is an increased chance of near- to above-normal rainfall over much of the Maritime Continent , and a mix of below- to above-normal rainfall over Mainland Southeast Asia with the above-normal rainfall possibly pertaining to chances of hydrometeorological disasters occurring. La Niña conditions are present and models are predicting weak to moderate La Niña conditions until March-April, after which the conditions are predicted to weaken. The negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event has ended and is expected to be neutral for the coming months. Warmer-than-usual temperature is expected for much of the Maritime Continent and Myanmar during the period of December 2021 to February 2022.
The dry season over the southern ASEAN region had ended in mid-October 2021. In the northern ASEAN region, the traditional dry season typically sets in at the end of the year. While there is an increased chance of above-normal rainfall over some parts of the northern ASEAN region, hotspot and smoke haze activity can still be expected to progressively intensify over the fire-prone areas in the Mekong sub-region, with an increased likelihood of transboundary haze occurrence during this period.
*Note from ASMC: The qualitative outlook is assessed for the region in general and based on the latest runs from models provided by the SEA RCC-Network LRF node. For specific updates on the national scale, the relevant ASEAN National Meteorological and Hydrological Services should be consulted.
Sources: ASEAN Disaster Information Network (ADINet), ASEAN Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS), ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) – Indonesia, Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara (NADMA) – Malaysia, Department of Disaster Management (DDM) – Myanmar, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) – Philippines, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) – Thailand, Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA) – Viet Nam, Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG) – Indonesia, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) – Indonesia, Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) – Myanmar, Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) – Philippines, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) – Philippines
Written by : Keith Paolo Landicho, Sadhu Zukhruf Janottama, Lawrence Anthony Dimailig
The AHA Centre’s estimation is based on data and information shared by National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) and other relevant agencies from ASEAN Member States, international organisations, and news agencies. Further information on each recorded significant disaster, description, and detail of data and information are available at: http://adinet.ahacentre.org/reports.
CELEBRATING A DECADE OF SUCCESSFUL COLLABORATION, WHILE LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
This year, still in the midst of the pandemic, the AHA Centre turned 10. A young age, but the Centre has gone through challenges in the past decade and transformed into a strong ASEAN regional organisation. To commemorate its 10th anniversary, the Centre hosted a virtual Partnership Forum on 26 November 2021. This event was designed to celebrate the partnership that has been forged over the years and to express appreciation to all partners and stakeholders for their support for the Centre and the region.
Attended by 195 participants from national disaster management organisations (NDMOs), Dialogue and Development Partners and partners of the AHA Centre, the Forum also provided an opportunity to the participants to learn more about the outcomes of their support through an exhibition of the AHA Centre Work Plan 2025.
Secretary-General of ASEAN H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi highlighted several significant achievements of the AHA Centre in the past 10 years, including the establishment of the ASEAN-Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT), the Disaster Emergency Logistics System of ASEAN (DELSA), and the ASEAN Village in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. “I also appreciate our close collaboration in responding to several major disasters, especially in helping alleviate the difficulties faced by the people of ASEAN through effective coordination with internal and external stakeholders,” said Dato Lim Jock Ho, who is also the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator (AHAC), during his opening remarks.
He also particularly acknowledged the role of the AHA Centre in the implementation of Point Four of the Five-Point Consensus agreed by the ASEAN Leaders Summit in April this year. Through the stewardship of and collaboration with the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) on the ground, medical supplies and ASEAN relief items have been distributed to the People of Myanmar. “This is testament to the AHA Centre’s successful and transformative role beyond its usual mandate,” he added.
Chairman of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre, Commissioner Eric Yap from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), mentioned that most recently the AHA Centre had also supported several ASEAN Member States in their COVID-19 response through the delivery of relief items from the ASEAN stockpile and donations from partners. “Partnerships play a vital role in the success of the AHA Centre. Cooperation with the ASEAN Dialogue Partners and international organisations has strengthened the operational function of the AHA Centre,” he emphasised.
The main item on the agenda of the Partnership Forum was the AHA Centre’s workplan exhibition. During this activity, the participants were directed into several breakout rooms, designed based on Priority Programmes (PPs), and had the opportunity to interact and comment through online tool Padlet. Each breakout room was facilitated by designated AHA Centre staff.
Executive Director of the AHA Centre Mr. Lee Yam Ming highlighted that the Partnership Forum was a platform to communicate with all partners who have been supporting the Centre, as well as potential new partners. “We’ve hosted this [Partnership Forum] as we regard our partners as important stakeholders in our efforts to achieve regional resiliency against disasters,” he said during his opening remarks. This year’s Partnership Forum, said Mr. Yam Ming, took on an additional important meaning as the AHA Centre turned 10 years old.
The establishment of the AHA Centre, he continued, reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to counter natural disasters through the mechanisms of regional cooperation under the guidance of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM). “The Centre has achieved a lot of things through provision of assistance, the development of systems and mechanisms that have contributed to the further enhancement of disaster resiliency in the region, and facilitating learning and knowledge exchange,” he concluded.
During the Partnership Forum, the AHA Centre also launched the Story of the AHA Centre video, which captured the journey of the Centre from the inception stage to the current era of transformation. Greeting videos from the ACDM, dialogue and development partners, and partners of the AHA Centre were also played during the event.
1) PP 1 on Risk Assessment and Monitoring and PP 2 on Prevention and Mitigation
- Under these priorities several participants expressed their interest in supporting forecasting and monitoring capacity for climate-related hazards, especially slow-onset disasters such as drought and the strengthening through partnership with relevant institutions of regional tsunami early-warning capacity.
2) PP 3 on Preparedness and Response and PP 4 on Resilient Recovery
- Participants provided their comments on and interest in the issues of human-induced crises, joint action plans with NGOs, civil society organisations and private sector entities for inclusion into standby arrangements under the AJDRP, as well as the development of ASEAN-ERAT.
3) PP 5 on Global Leadership
- Under this priority, participants discussed potential projects, including development programmes aimed at disaster management leaders and practitioners in ASEAN.
4) PP 6 on Corporate Governance
- In this breakout room, the discussion focused on open collaboration between partners and the AHA Centre by offering an approach to smarter, green, more effective and efficient organisation of the AHA Centre.
Written by : Yuniarti Wahyuningtyas, Moch Syifa | Photo Credit: AHA Centree