AHA CENTRE COMMENCES
ACE PROGRAMME 5TH BATCH
The fifth batch of the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme formally commenced on the 14th of August 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia, with 17 disaster management professionals from the National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) of ASEAN Member States to participate in the four-month course. Upon finishing the course, this new batch of ASEAN disaster management professionals will join the other 62 graduates of the programme, who have been prepared by the AHA Centre and its partners since the course first began in 2014.
By joining ACE Programme, participants are provided with the chance to acquire meaningful experience and knowledge on dealing with disaster situations, with such learnings supported by the programme’s wide array of diverse courses and trainings. In addition, the participants will also have the chance to undertake comparative studies by visiting disaster-affected areas in Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand.
“We are all aware of how vulnerable our region is to natural disasters, ranging from cyclone, typhoon, earthquake, landslide, and drought. Knowing this, the ACE Programme is very useful for preparing our future leaders in the field of disaster management, and in promoting a culture of resilience and care for the environment”, said H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the ASEAN Secretary-General.
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the Secretary-General of ASEAN; H.E. Kazuo Sunaga, the Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN; H.E. Pam Dunn, the Ambassador of New Zealand to ASEAN; H.E. Jane Duke, the Ambassador of Australia to ASEAN; Mr. Dicky Fabrian of National Disaster Management Authority of Indonesia (BNPB); other partners of the AHA Centre and representatives of ASEAN Dialogue Partners.
The ACE Programme is an intensive course that is specifically designed to address the needs for a comprehensive and collaborative disaster management strategy in Southeast Asia. The live-in concept of the course enables participants to build strong operational ties and emotional bonds, which can be useful for coordination amongst NDMOs of ASEAN Member States at a later time. The programme will also strengthen the operationalisation of One ASEAN One Response commitment through building capacities of the participants in the area of disaster management and humanitarian assistance operations.
“When a disaster strikes, we know that we can always rely on the ACE Programme graduates when we need them, and they can always rely on us when they need us”
said Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre.“Many of the ACE Programme graduates have now represented their countries in ASEAN meetings; some even have confidently given their views and their directions to the AHA Centre in those meetings” she continued.
Written by : Valerie Bayhon | Photo: AHA Centre
FINAL PREPARATION MEETINGS
CILEGON, BANTEN, INDONESIA, 11-12 JULY, 2018
2018’s ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise 2018 (ARDEX-18) is planned to be held in Cilegon, Banten, Indonesia, from the 4th to the 10th of November, engaging all ten ASEAN Member States and a range of other disaster management stakeholders within this all-important disaster simulation exercise. During mid-July, the AHA Centre, alongside the National Disaster Management Authority of Indonesia (BNPB) led the final preparations for ARDEX-18, undertaking the Final Exercise Planning Team (EPT) meeting and Final Planning Conference (FPC) for this key biennial regional exercise.
ARDEX-18 will form the 7th ARDEX simulation exercise for the ASEAN region, which has provided a substantial range of benefits to ASEAN nations as well as for a vast range of stakeholders within the international sector. Alongside this, it has formed an opportunity for the ASEAN Standby Arrangements and Standard Operating Procedures (SASOP) to be practiced, evaluated, and reviewed as the key mechanisms for disaster response within the region. The finalisation of preparations included determining contributions of each actor engaged in the exercise, the roles that will be undertaken by each participant, as well as ensuring the exercise will be implemented in a smooth and efficient manner.
“Conducting exercises will help gather valuable and proper assessments to address gaps in real emergency situations. In addition, doing simulations will help clearly identify roles, types of communications and resources needed,” explained Mr. Dicky Fabrian S.H., LL.M., from the Bureau of Law and Cooperation of the BNPB.
Cilegon has been chosen to host ARDEX-18 due to its identification by the Indonesian Government as one of the most disaster-prone areas, and based on scientific risk analysis undertaken on the location. Cilegon is in close proximity to the Sunda thrust and Krakatau volcano, thus prone to earthquake, tsunami, and volcanic hazards. Furthermore, as an industrial area, Cilegon faces an additional risk of hazardous materials due to the presence of various factories within the city. Due to this factor, ARDEX-18 will be the first simulation exercise that includes training materials related to chemical hazards within the scenario.
“First, ARDEX serves as a key disaster response preparation tool. Next, it serves as a strong platform for the participants to learn from each other. The lessons learned and gathered will be significant for improving the preparations in the future. Third, ARDEX builds a bridge in linking and strengthening the emotional bonding of sisterhood and brotherhood of ASEAN, which is important factor in strengthening the context of ASEAN unity,” said Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of AHA Centre.
Participants for the upcoming ARDEX-18 are comprised of emergency response teams from all ASEAN Member States, United Nations representatives, private sector, academia, and international partners who wish to contribute to the implementation of One ASEAN One Response.
Written by : Valerie Bayhon | Photo: AHA Centre
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
SIMULATION EXERCISE WITH GIDRM AND SDC, 24-25 JANUARY 2018
AT 04:23AM, THE AHA CENTRE’S WHATSAPP GROUP WAS ALIGHT WITH MESSAGES, AS STAFF IN JAKARTA AND BEYOND WERE ROUSED FROM THEIR SLEEP BY THE NEWS OF AN EARTHQUAKE. THIS SIMULATED EARTHQUAKE EVENT FORMED THE BEGINNING OF THE AHA CENTRE’S EXERCISE WITH GIDRM AND SDC.
A 7.9 Magnitude earthquake was recorded near Pontianak with 10 Km depth. Disaster Monitoring and Analysis will update if there is a tsunami advisory issued.
Twelve minutes later, another message appears on the mobile phone screens of the group.
Given the shallow depth, tsunami warning may be triggered for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
These alerts were followed by a request to gather at the AHA Centre’s Emergency Operations Centre at 7 a.m. and series of internal coordination meetings for the next 36 hours. For the first time ever, the AHA Centre was involved in a two-day scenario, responding to a fictitious large-scale disaster which presumably affected three ASEAN Member-States. Every few hours, new injects were given and complicate the situation. The injects include, among others, a biohazards leakage at an industrial area in Pontianak and a kidnapping case of the ASEAN-ERAT member.
This unique scenario helped staff to practice their internal preparedness and response mechanisms. At the end of the exercise, the AHA Centre evaluated its response mechanism, noting gaps and weaknesses, and discussed the solutions that could support the improvement of the organisation’s readiness in responding to complex disaster situations. This interesting and engaging exercise was facilitated by the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Written by : Shintya Kurniawan | Photo : AHA Centre
THIRD ASEAN MEMBER STATES TRAINING ON
DISASTER HEALTH MANAGEMENT, ARCH PROJECT
BANGKOK, THAILAND, 28-31 MAY 2018
Health and medical support forms one of the primary, most important elements for assisting communities facing disaster. The ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH) project, being implemented from 2016 to 2019, forms a cornerstone of the region’s efforts to engage health services with maximal impact in the disaster management field. As part of this project, the AHA Centre engaged in the Third ASEAN Member States (AMS) Training on Disaster Health Management, which took place in Bangkok from the 28th to the 31st of May 2018.
The key focus of this strategic training was to learn about, and develop integrated processes for working with International-Emergency Management Teams (I-EMT), who form a primary source of experience and skill in medical responses to disaster situations. This focus included learning about the processes and effort required in receiving and deploying I-EMTs, understanding I-EMT core requirements before, during and after deployment, as well as understanding the role of the recipient country within coordinating I-EMT deployments.
To set about achieving the workshop’s aims, the AMS training delved into information regarding EMT minimum standards, including the ARCH project’s role in helping achieve such standards, as well as how achieving such standards could be undertaken within the ASEAN context. Much discussion was also afforded to identifying challenges to achieving standards – such as customs compliance, waste management, safety and security, and insurance – and highlighting opportunities to overcome such challenges that would result in more efficient and fluent engagement of I-EMT support at times of disaster.
The training highlighted that these key challenges formed the primary obstacle for better engagement of I-EMT within ASEAN disaster response efforts, and that such obstacles could be overcome at a regional level – with the support of the ARCH project. The ARCH project itself aims to develop Standard Operating Procedures for deployment of EMTs within the region, alongside an EMT database, both of which would serve to support the standardisation and management of I-EMTs operating within the ASEAN context. The training also identified the development of pre-agreements between ASEAN Member States regarding such elements as importing dangerous goods and controlled substances, which would be advantageous within the engagement of I-EMTs during disaster response.
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
JAKARTA, 13-14 MARCH 2018
In Jakarta on 13-14 March 2018, the AHA Centre engaged about 50 participants in a two-day ASEAN Contingency Planning workshop for Indonesia. Participants came from different Indonesian line ministries involved in disaster response and disaster management, including the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB), the Local Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Body (BMKG), the Department of Defence, the army, the Transportation Department, and the Ministry of Health.
Using a scenario of a large tsunami hitting the industrial city of Cilegon, the participants managed to identify at least 31 items, consisting of assets and capacities, that were categorised as immediate needs by the affected population. Included in the identified items are medicine, emergency medical teams, urban search and rescue teams, water treatment facility, and the needs of vulnerable groups: nutritious food for infants, breastfeeding mothers, and aid for people with disabilities. The workshop also stimulated discussions on transportation and logistics access, that would serve to enable timely distribution of humanitarian assistance from ASEAN Member States and partners.
The workshop is part of the AHA Centre’s effort to continue the development of the ASEAN Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP). The AJDRP has identified three major disaster risks in the region–a major earthquake in Metro Manila, a super cyclone in the Ayeyarwady Delta in Myanmar, and tsunami caused by a megathrust earthquake in Indonesia. Three workshops, with Jakarta being the final, have now been undertaken using these scenarios, in order to enhance the speed, scale, and solidarity of ASEAN’s collective response to major disasters in the region. Similar workshops have been conducted in Manila, the Philippines, and Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar in 2017.
With the conclusion of the workshop in Jakarta, the AHA Centre is now able to identify common needs in large-scale disasters, and consider how ASEAN can support the affected Member State(s) at such a time. However, it is important to highlight that any disaster response operation should always be nationally led, regionally supported, and internationally reinforced as and when necessary.
Arnel Capili, the Director of Operations of the AHA Centre, noted that ASEAN can only engage effectively if a relationship of trust has been developed within all the Member States. “We can only operate on the speed of trust”, he remarked, “which is why it is important to continue the dialogue, to build on what we already have, and move forward from there.”
Written by : Shintya Kurniawan | Photo : BNPB
COORDINATION (UN-CMCOORD) TRAINING
BENGKULU, 5-10 APRIL 2018
On 5th–10th of April 2018, the AHA Centre participated in a Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination (UN-CMCOORD) training, conducted on-board the US Naval Hospital Ship (USNS) Mercy in Bengkulu, Indonesia. The training was implemented by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) alongside the United States Pacific Fleet.
As military institutions often play a significant role within emergency responses, there is a real need to foster meaningful collaboration between military actors, civilians, and other international humanitarian organisations. This sees UNOCHA facilitating trainings such as the UN-CMCOORD on a regular basis across the world. The training’s underlying principle is to create and share common understanding for the facilitation of the right assistance, to the right people, at the right time, and using the most appropriate methods during emergency response. The training included a variety of modules, such as coordination and sharing of resources, protection of civilians, and the security of humanitarian aid workers – an effort that has developed the global #NotATarget campaign.
The participants in the UN-CMCOORD training held a range of diverse backgrounds. Alongside military representatives and UNOCHA staff, representatives from non-governmental organisations, National Disaster Management Organisations, regional organisations, and the International Red Cross/Crescent Societies were also involved. However, this event stands as the first time such a training was conducted on a military vessel. The USNS Mercy was originally an oil tanker, redeveloped into a military medical hospital, complete with a surgery operation room for humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.
“I found the environment and direct exposure to military responses throughout the training as a very insightful experience. Furthermore, the content on liaising, communicating and facilitating dialogues between civilian and military actors during emergency operations is also very crucial in the region, as military actors often are the first responders in emergency situations,” stated Janggam Adhityawarma, Assistant Director of Preparedness and Response, and the AHA Centre’s representative at the training.
Written by : Shintya Kurniawan | Photo : AHA Centre
STRENGTHENING THE INTEROPERABILITY OF
ASEAN-ERAT AND UNDAC
SWITZERLAND, 29 APRIL – 11 MAY 2018
THE ASEAN REGION WAS REPRESENTED BY THREE MEMBERS OF THE REGION DURING THE UNITED NATIONS DISASTER ASSESSMENT AND COORDINATION (UNDAC) GLOBAL INDUCTION COURSE, HELD IN SWITZERLAND FROM THE 29TH OF APRIL TO THE 11TH OF MAY, 2018. THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN THE UNDAC TRAINING SERVES TO DEMONSTRATE THE STRENGTHENED PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND ASEAN FOR INCREASING COLLECTIVE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS IN THE SOUTHEAST ASIAN REGION.
The participants, from Indonesia, Malaysia and Lao PDR, included two members of the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT), thus their engagement in the UNDAC course formed another opportunity to test the interoperability between international and regional humanitarian mechanisms.
“The purpose of our involvement in the UNDAC course is to ensure quality learning process of UNDAC methodology and approach, increase the number of ASEAN-ERAT members who are also UNDAC-certified, as well as showcasing the quality of ASEAN-ERAT in collaborating together with other humanitarian actors within the UNDAC system,” said Dr. Mizan Bisri, the Disaster Monitoring and Analysis Officer of the AHA Centre, and one of the participants in the 2-week course.
At the completion of the course, numerous key-learnings could be identified, especially regarding points of improvement for adoption from UNDAC within ASEAN-ERAT processes. These included, amongst others, the strategic elements of coordination, access to assessment results, and back-end support mechanisms of UNDAC missions. A particular highlight is the strategic element of UNDAC system that forms a link between their assessment results and greater resource mobilisation, as well as public disclosure of such assessment results to increase the transparency of UNDAC and its standing in the wider humanitarian community. Therefore, dissemination of the assessment report produced by ASEAN-ERAT at the completion of each deployment/disaster response is increasingly important. While a response might not necessarily lead to greater resource mobilisation, having a public report will increase the visibility of ASEAN-ERAT, promote the values of ASEAN-ERAT, and potentially fortify the partnerships with global humanitarian partners.
The training also provided in-depth insights that may be integrated into the development of ASEAN-ERAT Level-2 curriculum, particularly related to rapid assessment, information management, logistics, humanitarian civil-military coordination and early recovery. The UNDAC holds a wide array of experiences designing back-end support with partner organisations, both within and outside of the UN system, particularly focused towards assessment and analysis, and information management aspects. Based on these experiences, within the Southeast Asian context, there are opportunities to enable ASEAN-ERAT members to provide remote support for ongoing missions on the ground.
During the UNDAC global induction course, ASEAN-ERAT was highlighted as a key regional partner for responding on the ground, capacity building and inter-operability preparedness. The ongoing participation between both ASEAN-ERAT and UNDAC within each other’s respective induction courses and exercises was highlighted and praised. UNDAC members also evidenced awareness that, in the case of disasters in ASEAN region, there is a great likelihood that a Joint Operations and Coordination Centre of ASEAN (JOCCA) would run in parallel to the Onsite Operations and Coordination Centre (OSOCC). Both centres would serve as coordinating platforms and provide support to the affected countries to manage incoming assistance. The existence of a Standard Operating Procedure between the OCHA/UNDAC and AHA Centre/ASEAN-ERAT, tailored to the respective UNDAC and ASEAN-ERAT mission cycles, was highlighted as a good institutional approach to ensure quality response for supporting the needs of the affected population. Overall, better strategic, tactical and operational linkages between ASEAN and UN agencies are fundamental to the holistic implementation of One ASEAN One Response, both for responding inside and outside the region. As of May 2018, there are 18 out of 252 ASEAN-ERAT members who had been trained and qualified as UNDAC personnel, with plans to continuously increase these numbers, in line with the ASEAN-ERAT Transformation Plan as part of the AHA Centre Work Plan 2020.
Written by : Mizan Bisri | Photo : AHA Centre, United Nations