Wednesday, 24 January 2024 / Published in AHA Centre Diary 1


The AHA Centre, with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), organised a workshop on the Lessons Learned from Humanitarian Operations for the 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Turkiye and Syria on 18 and 19 September 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on 6 February 2023 triggered an outpouring of international sympathy and support. A report from the United Nations News estimates that the earthquake resulted in more than 410,000 casualties, causing homelessness to 1.5 million people and more than USD 45 billion worth of damages. Considering the severity of the disaster’s impact, on 7 February 2023, the Government of Turkey announced that it would welcome international aid. As of 9 February 2023, more than 100 countries, including several ASEAN countries, i.e., Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, also mobilised their personnel and logistics support to Turkiye and Syria.

Such large-scale international humanitarian operations are infrequent. It offers a glimpse of how the global humanitarian system can work to support communities affected by disasters. Therefore, the workshop aimed, first, for ASEAN to learn first-hand the dynamics, challenges, and best practices in helping an affected state that is geographically far from the region. Second, to identify critical lessons from emergency response operations in Turkiye and Syria that can enhance ASEAN’s ability to respond as One beyond the region. This learning opportunity will shed light for ASEAN in manifesting One ASEAN One Response Declaration, which was signed in 2016 by the ASEAN Leaders, outlining ASEAN’s ambition to respond as one within and beyond the region and is also contributing to the goal of ASEAN as a global disaster management leader by 2025.

The two-day workshop brought together experts from ASEAN Dialogue Partners, such as Japan, Australia, India, the United States of America, and New Zealand, to share learning points from their humanitarian operations in Turkiye and Syria. In addition, the workshop also brought representatives from the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) who deployed humanitarian teams to Turkiye and Syria, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

The workshop’s first day focused on bringing participants to understand the common operational picture, challenges, and best practices of the response through a keynote speaker from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presentations from ASEAN Dialogue Partners and partner organisations, and panel discussions. The panel discussions were divided into lessons learned and coordination at the strategic and tactical/field levels. Discussion on the strategic level was shaped around crucial decision points in sending assistance, collaboration and coordination with the affected government and other assisting governments, and resource allocation.

Meanwhile, the tactical/field level scope discussed operational challenges to mobilise resources, mainly the deployment and operationalisation of the USAR and Disaster Response teams and coordination among the teams from different countries on the ground.

On the second day of the workshop, a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with the AMS and ASEAN Dialogue Partners and partner organisations, respectively, took place in parallel, focusing on how ASEAN can realise the vision of responding beyond the region. The AMS group, comprising representatives of the NDMOs and national USAR agencies, focused on identifying current capacities and mechanisms of ASEAN and its AMS that can be used to advance the OAOR vision. The FGD with AMS continued with a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) exercise, which guided the Group in identifying the strengths and weaknesses and broader opportunities and threats of realising ASEAN’s mission beyond the region.

In parallel, the second Group with ASEAN Dialogue Partners and partner organisations focused on identifying possible support that the partners can provide should ASEAN extend its humanitarian assistance to other regions. This perspective is expected to complement the discussion in Group 1 so that ASEAN can have a balanced understanding of what needs to be prepared moving forward.

The workshop resulted in several strategic and technical recommendations for ASEAN to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study for ASEAN responding beyond the region. It further recommended exploring the development of a roadmap as part of the study for ASEAN to transform its capabilities for providing humanitarian support following a disaster outside the ASEAN region.


Written by: Grace Endina & Dipo Summa | Photos by: AHA Centre

Wednesday, 24 January 2024 / Published in Partnership


The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been a steadfast supporter of the AHA Centre since 2017. In the first collaboration, SDC and the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) supported preparations for the 2018 ARDEX, in particular by deploying experts to support scenario development and referee training. Following the success of this initial collaboration, SDC and the AHA Centre then signed a new Memorandum of Intent (MoI) that is much broader in scope.

Phase I of the collaboration was implemented in 2020-2021. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitment between SDC and the AHA Centre to enhance collaboration remained strong. This led to the continuation of the second phase of the MoI, with covered a longer period in order to achieve more strategic objectives and allow greater flexibility in implementing activities.

The MoI for the second phase was signed during the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM) on 2 August 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. This MoI outlined a two-year collaboration between the AHA Centre and SDC, spanning from 2022 to 2024. One of the components in this collaboration is capacity development through the implementation of a secondment programme for the ASEAN Member States and AHA Centre staff.

The secondment programme has two main objectives. First, to support the capacity development of both National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) and AHA Centre staff, particularly on disaster monitoring and analysis. This capacity development will be achieved through an increased understanding and better awareness of the operational mechanisms in both the AHA Centre and the NDMOs for monitoring and analysing disasters and hazards. The second objective is to create better operational working relationships between the AHA Centre and the NDMOs, through increased familiarity with each other’s operational structures.

This programme, set to continue until 2024, allows the AHA Centre to support four secondments from NDMOs to the AHA Centre annually, as well as four secondments from the AHA Centre to the NDMOs, for a maximum duration of two weeks each.

The first batch of the secondment programme was conducted on 16-27 October 2023, with participation from six NDMO staff coming from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, and Viet Nam. During this programme, the secondees worked together with Jakarta-based AHA Centre staff, in the Disaster Monitoring and Analysis (DMA) and Preparedness and Response (P&R) Units. They also had the opportunity to visit the ASEAN Secretariat and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) of BNPB Indonesia.

Beyond the secondment programme, the collaboration also includes several activities, including other capacity building programmes. All activities under this collaboration will contribute to the implementation of the AADMER Work Programme 2021-2025 and the AHA Centre Work Plan 2025.



Written by: Moch Syifa | Photos by: AHA Centre

Wednesday, 24 January 2024 / Published in Insight



On 15 September, Typhoon Mangkhut (locally known as Ompong) made landfall in Cagayan Province, the Philippines, unleashing devastating winds and torrential rains. In its wake, over 2.5 million people were affected, 50 lives lost, and hundreds injured. Homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods across eight provinces and seven cities/municipalities were severely affected. Typhoon Mangkhut, with a diameter surpassing that of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, caused damages estimated at over USD 6 million.

Pre-emptive actions by the Government of the Philippines, such as early evacuations and the provision of essential supplies played a large part in reducing the number of casualties and mitigating the disaster’s impact. The AHA Centre’s involvement was also instrumental, both in the preparation for and response to Typhoon Mangkhut. Working closely with the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the AHA Centre tracked the typhoon’s progress as it moved towards the Philippines.

An In-Country Liaison Team (ICLT) arrived in the Philippines hours after the typhoon’s landfall, standing by at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) of the NDRRMC to provide support to national relief efforts. Three ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) Information Management Specialists were also deployed to support the NDRRMC with data analysis, data visualisation, and report writing.

The AHA Centre mobilised relief items worth over USD 275,000, including 30 tonnes of rice, four generator sets, and 2,000 rolls of tarpaulins, which were formally handed over to the NDRRMC in a meeting on 24 September 2018.

Five years later, the ASEAN response to Typhoon Mangkhut reminds us of the importance of preparedness, resilience, and unity in the face of calamities. ASEAN’s unified approach stands testament to the collective strength and solidarity of the ASEAN Member States in the spirit of “One ASEAN One Response.”




Written by: Gladys Respati | Photos by: AHA Centre

Wednesday, 24 January 2024 / Published in Monthly Disaster Outlook



For the month of September 2023, a total of 111 disasters were reported. The number of reported occurrences was 42.49% less than the number of reported disasters in September of the last year. The ASEAN Member States affected for September 2023 were Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Most of the disasters (54.95%) occurred in Indonesia and accounted for 43.6% of the affected persons (around 670K persons), the highest number of affected persons for this reporting period. The share of the disaster-affected people for the other ASEAN Member States are as follows: (1) Indonesia – 43.62%, (2) Philippines – 28.07%, (3) Thailand – 14.16%, (4) Cambodia – 13.13%, (5) Viet Nam – 0.42%, (6) Myanmar – 0.39%, and (7) Malaysia – 0.21%. September 2023 saw disasters affecting 223 per 100,000 people* and displacing 5 per 100,000 people* in the region, which was significantly lower (36% and 58%, respectively) compared to the previous month.

Out of the total reported disasters in September 2023, 48.65% was flood which mostly occurred in the northern hemisphere and consistently the most recorded type of disaster for the month of September of the previous year and September on a five-year average (2018-2022). However, due to the effects of El Niño, drought ranked as the second most reported disaster (29.73%), particularly in the southern parts of the equatorial line (Indonesia) for September 2023. The reported number of droughts (33) was 33x more than the reported drought in September of the previous year (1) and 15.5x more than the five-year (2018-2022) average for drought in September (2). While the reported disasters in the region for September 2023 in comparison with the historical data (average for September 2018-2022) indicates 1.5x more reported disasters, there were 2.7x less affected people, 4.2x less people internally displaced, 1.6x less houses affected to some extent, 13.4x less lives lost, and 281x less people suffering injuries.



Geophysically, 22 significant earthquakes (Magnitude ≥ 5.0) were reported by Indonesia’s Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG) and the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) for the period of September 2023.

Mounts Ibu (Alert Level II), Semeru (Alert Level III), Dukono (Alert Level II), Ili Lewotolok (Alert Level II) in Indonesia and Mayon (Alert Level 3), Taal (Alert Level 1), and Kanlaon (Alert Level 1) in the Philippines were reportedly tectonically active (erupting lava or releasing gas or generating seismic activity) throughout the month of September 2023.

As of 1 October, PHIVOLCS maintained the Mayon Volcano at Alert Level 3 (Increased Tendency Towards Hazardous Eruption). According to PHIVOLCS, there have been volcanic earthquakes, rockfall events, and pyroclastic density current events still within the 4-km radius from the crater. Volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions averaged 1392 tonnes/day for September 2023 and hazardous eruption within weeks could still be possible. According to NDRRMC’s report on 11 October, a total of 9,876 families or 38,396 persons were affected. Of which, 52 families (195 persons) remain displaced inside 1 evacuation centre. The NDRRMC with other relevant-agencies/stakeholders have provided 7.9M USD worth of assistance to those affected.

*computed based on 2023 population data from



According to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), the Southwest monsoon conditions persisted over the region in September 2023. ASMC noted that the prevailing low-level winds blew mainly from the southeast from the south of the equatorial line and turned to blow from the southwest or west over areas north of the Equator Dry conditions prevailed over many parts of southern ASEAN region as the area remained under the traditional dry season. Isolated showers were recorded over parts of northern Sumatra, Malayasia, and northeastern Kalimantan. Over the northern ASEAN region, the weather was generally wet as the traditional wet season prevailed. The average daily rainfall and mean winds in the region for September 2023 are illustrated in Figure 1. Moderate to heavy rainfall concentration over the northern and northeastern parts of Thailand and north, northwestern, and central provinces of Cambodia, especially those in low-lying areas and near river systems, may have contributed to the flooding events that affected 69K families in these areas.



According to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), the Southwest Monsoon conditions that prevailed in September 2023 are expected to continue into the month of October. It is expected that during this period, the prevailing winds over the ASEAN region are blowing mostly from the southeast or southwest. Northern ASEAN region may experience rainy weather while drier conditions may be expected in the southern part of the region. Towards the end of October 2023, the weak or variable winds may be experienced as the inter-monsoon period sets in. Meanwhile, increased shower activities over most of the equatorial region may be expected as the monsoon rain-band migrates southwards towards the equator.

For the next 3 months, (October-November-December 2023), an increased chance of below-normal rainfall is predicted for most of the southern ASEAN region, extending to include the Philippines. Meanwhile, an increased chance of above-normal rainfall is also predicted over parts of Mainland Southeast Asia over this period. El Niño conditions are predicted to strengthen over the next few months and persist at least until the start of 2024 and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is now present and likely to persist during October-November. El Niño and positive IODs may bring drier conditions to most parts of the region. Above-normal temperature is predicted for most of the ASEAN region for October-November-December 2023.

Note: 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, Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) – TMD, Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG) – Indonesia, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) – Indonesia, Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) – Philippines, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) – Philippines

Written by : Jasmine Alviar, 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: