STRENGTHENING DISASTER-RESPONSE CAPACITY OF NDMOs AMID PANDEMIC
Responding to disasters during the COVID-19 pandemic has become more complicated as National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) have had to provide assistance as well as dealing with the pandemic at the same time. To maintain safety standards during any disaster response in Viet Nam this year, the Viet Nam National Disaster Authority (VNDMA) has handed over medical equipment to five Ministerial Standing Offices for Disaster Prevention.
The handover ceremony was held on 20 July 2021 at the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control. The support items, funded by Direct Relief through the AHA Centre, comprised of medical equipment, including body thermal scanner systems, and medical face masks. These items will play a significant role in supporting the VNDMA and its disaster-prevention offices during any disaster response amidst the pandemic.
Viet Nam, like many countries within the region, is prone to disasters, especially in the second half of the year. Tropical storms, floods and landslides are the most frequent types of disaster and often simultaneously occur in the country, causing loss of life and property. Toward the end of 2020, Viet Nam was hit by Tropical Storms LINFA and NANGKA, which affected more than 800,000 people, with some 66,500 people forced to evacuate.
However, when such disasters occur during the COVID-19 pandemic, the response is more complicated and challenging as the country is still combating the pandemic while responding to the disaster. This means that a country needs to double the resources and this puts more pressure on the local authorities already facing the pandemic crisis. A disaster might well occur in an area where COVID-19 case rates are high, therefore, the disaster response must incorporate health protocols to ensure there are no new clusters of COVID-19 cases in temporary shelters.
The VNDMA has mitigated the above situations and any possible risks during its disaster responses. Understanding the risks faced by officials, it is crucial to be prepared and ready by providing the ministerial-level agencies with medical equipment and face masks during their responses to disasters.
The AHA Centre is grateful for the support items funded by Direct Relief to be distributed to the VNDMA. It is essential that disaster management agencies in the region have the medical equipment to ensure safety during their responses in the pandemic.
“It is very challenging for us now to respond to disasters while also combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The way we respond to disasters in this current pandemic needs to be adjusted while maintaining agility in our disaster responses”
This is not the first time that the AHA Centre has mobilised items in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the AHA Centre was mandated by the Governing Board to mobilise relief items from the DELSA Regional Stockpile in Subang, Malaysia; the DELSA Satellite Warehouse in Chainat, Thailand; and the DELSA Satellite Warehouse in Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippines, to support the ongoing COVID-19 responses in Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The AHA Centre has also distributed 1.5 million reusable face masks, donated by Singapore’s Temasek Foundation, to the ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Centres, entities related to ASEAN and the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia – PMI).
Written by : Moch Syifa, Kiran M. Husni | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
Vol 74 – THE ASEAN VILLAGE: TANGIBLE SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY FROM ASEAN AND PARTNERS FOR THE COMMUNITY IN PALU CITY
THE ASEAN VILLAGE:
TANGIBLE SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY FROM ASEAN AND PARTNERS FOR THE COMMUNITY IN PALU CITY
The AHA Centre and the local administration of Palu City, Central Sulawesi in Indonesia, has officially launched the ASEAN Village, consisting of 100 permanent houses, one mosque and one auxiliary health centre. The village is a sign of the tangible support from ASEAN Member States and partners in the spirit of One ASEAN One Response for the community, which was impacted by triple disasters in September 2018. The launch was held in a hybrid format, on-site in Palu with COVID-19 protocols in place, and virtually via Zoom.
Mr. Hadianto Rasyid, SE, the Mayor of Palu City, expressed his gratitude for the generous support from the people and Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Government of the Philippines, the Government of Australia, Direct Relief and other supporters of the ASEAN Village. He also commended the AHA Centre for coordinating assistance for the ASEAN Village project and its contribution to the recovery programme in Central Sulawesi. “We’re very grateful that today the ASEAN Village is officially launched. We also thank all donors for their contributions and support for the people of Palu City,” Mr. Hadianto said during the launch.
The construction of the ASEAN Village started in August 2019. Under the first-phase construction, 75 permanent houses were handed over to the local administration in April 2020. The construction continued with an additional 25 permanent houses, a mosque, and an auxiliary health centre, all of which were handed over to the administration of Palu City in April 2021, five days before the start of Ramadhan, to allow for the facilities to be used immediately by the residents of the ASEAN Village and the surrounding areas. “The ASEAN Village provides solutions for the affected community who previously lived in temporary shelters,” Mr. Hadianto added.
ASEAN Secretary-General H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, joining the launch virtually from Jakarta, expressed his hope that the ASEAN Village would provide the people of Palu with an opportunity for a safe environment to recover from the destructive impact of the disaster and to resume their livelihoods and day-to-day activities. “I am pleased to note that the ASEAN Village is part of the new development design of the city of Palu, strategically located in close proximity to key social infrastructure including schools, healthcare facilities and markets”.
The AHA Centre facilitated ASEAN’s collective response during the emergency response stage and subsequently in the early recovery phase, as well as in the rehabilitation and reconstruction period. For the development of the ASEAN Village, the AHA Centre worked closely with the Palu City administration as its direct counterpart and implementing partner, under the guidance of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB).
Joining the launch in Palu with her team, Executive Director of the AHA Centre Ms. Adelina Kamal expressed her hope that the ASEAN Village could be included in the disaster-resilient village programme, which is an Indonesian government programme, in an effort to strengthen community resilience through community-based disaster risk-reduction efforts. “The ASEAN Village will have the resilience to adapt to, anticipate and deal with possible future disaster threats”, she said during the launch.
The AHA Centre also launched a book called “New Homes of Opportunities” that documents its experience and lessons over the past two years in building the ASEAN Village, and captures the thoughts and recommendations from the ASEAN Village’s supporters and survivors.
The official launch of the ASEAN Village was also attended by the Governor of Central Sulawesi Province Mr. Rusdi Mastura, and virtually via Zoom by the Ambassador of the Philippines to ASEAN H.E. Noel Servigon; Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to ASEAN H.E. Pengiran Hairani Pengiran Tajuddin; Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Counsellor Mr. Simon Ernst; Executive Vice President of Direct Relief Mr. Bhupi Singh; and ambassadors and representatives from ASEAN Member States as well as Dialogue Partners and partners of ASEAN.
Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS GAPS IN LOGISTICS CAPACITIES
It is heartening and exciting that even with the pandemic complicating travel and communications everywhere, the spirit of cooperation and eagerness for learning and exchange remains undimmed worldwide. In this spirit and with the aim of capturing new and emerging innovations in the field of humanitarian logistics, provoking insights and constructive discussions, as well as being a convergence between innovators and potential users, the first Humanitarian Emergency Logistics and Innovation Expo (HELiX) was held virtually from 24 to 25 May 2021.
The event was successfully organised by the AHA Centre in cooperation with the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA). HELiX, the first such event held by the AHA Centre, is a testament to the flexibility and resilience of the AHA Centre and VNDMA staff who worked diligently to prepare the expo, especially as the pandemic necessitated its adaptation into an online setting. HELiX is also aimed at capturing new and emerging innovations in the field of humanitarian logistics, provoking insights and constructive discussions as well as to be a convergence between innovators and potential users. Furthermore, HELiX was a welcome step, in the AHA Centre’s 10th anniversary year, in its journey towards becoming the premier regional disaster response authority in the region.
Executive Director of the Logistics Institute Asia-Pacific Dr. Robert de Souza, concluded his opening keynote speech on the Futures of Humanitarian Logistics by wishing HELiX success, noting that “[HELiX] brings all of us together to solve the problems that need to be solved, and to focus upon supply chain management, which was understated before, but is now brought to the fore.”
Supporting the points made in the earlier keynote speech, Executive Director of the AHA Centre Ms. Adelina Kamal emphasised during her introduction to the event the importance of a true desire to solve problems and to fulfill needs in driving innovation in order to achieve fit-for-purpose and sustainability. The context of the ASEAN region as a disaster-prone area should drive the region forward as leaders and pioneers in humanitarian innovation. “Therefore, let’s use HELIX sessions as the platform for convergence of innovative minds and ideas, that transcend and transform the way we do things in humanitarian logistics,” said Ms. Adelina.
Moreover, knowledge, engagement and collaboration are essential in actualising and executing the innovative ideas. In this regard, HELIX supported by Temasek Foundation, the UPS Foundation and Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN) successfully united almost 100 diverse speakers from humanitarian logistics actors and institutions, who ranged from academia and NDMOs to government and intergovernmental organisations, as well as from the private sector. They delivered 21 focus session talks and two keynote speeches in the plenary sessions. Some 21 companies and institutions took part in the virtual international exhibition along with almost 1,000 attendees in total from around the world.
What sort of innovations and ideas were in play? HELiX covered a wide array of topics and issues in the entirety of the humanitarian logistics field. There were innovations within the classic issue of capacity building, with solutions and experiences presented by the IFRC, ICRC and HELP Logistics. Gender and inclusion, an important aspect of humanitarian logistics, was emphasised in the session hosted by UN Women and UNFPA. Similarly, customs procedures in the context of delivering humanitarian aid were also discussed by the IMPACCT Working Group and the Humanitarian Logistics Association. There were also insights on new emerging technology related to data science, mapping and crowd-sourced apps in the sessions by Yayasan PetaBencana and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and the exhibits by UN Pulse Labs Jakarta and the Thai Red Cross. Youth involvement and participation was the focus in a session hosted by the Philippine National Youth Commission and the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth.
The important participation of new emerging innovators and technology could also be seen in one of the most interesting events in HELiX: the iPitch competition, where teams of innovators pitched their innovative projects to win prizes and advisory by experts. Winners of this competition were the Fleet for Emergency integrated platform by FleetHelp from Indonesia, the THINKLog supply chain management game by the TLIAP-GO team from NUS and the Padayon donation-matching app by the Asian Institute of Management from the Philippines.
Looking ahead, important lessons can be drawn from the success of HELiX. Moreover, HELiX could not have been successful without the participation and support of the partners of the AHA Centre, thus making clear the importance of cooperation, engagement and effective communication among humanitarian actors, academia, experts, etc.
In the near future HELiX will be followed by the AHAckathon hacking competition in October – a hacking competition aimed at students looking to contribute innovative ideas through programming and app creation. Stay tuned for further updates on this upcoming part of HELiX.
Written by : Yohanes Paulus, DELSA Intern | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
Vol 72 – ADMINISTRATIVE HANDOVER OF THE ASEAN VILLAGE PHASE 2: BRING FESTIVE OF RAMADHAN AND EXCITEMENT TO THE COMMUNITY
ADMINISTRATIVE HANDOVER OF THE ASEAN VILLAGE PHASE 2:
BRING FESTIVE OF RAMADHAN AND EXCITEMENT TO THE COMMUNITY
The earthquake, and subsequent tsunami and soil liquefaction that struck the region around Palu City in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, in September 2018 killed over 4,000 people and damaged tens of thousands of homes, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The AHA Centre, in accordance with the mandate given by the ASEAN Leaders in the One ASEAN One Response Declaration, played a leading role as the regional coordinating agency for ASEAN Member States and also agencies from outside the region at the time of the tragedy. Since then the AHA Centre has been involved in ongoing recovery activities, among which has been the development of the ASEAN Village to rehouse residents affected by the disaster in Tondo, Palu.
On 7 April 2021, the AHA Centre, together with the head representatives of ASEAN Member States and respective partners, had the honour of witnessing the virtual handover ceremony for Phase 2 construction of the ASEAN Village, comprising 25 permanent houses, an auxiliary health centre and a mosque, to the Government of Palu City. The ASEAN Village is funded by the people of Brunei Darussalam and the Government of the Philippines with additional support from the Government of Australia, and Direct Relief.
Executive Director of the AHA Centre Ms Adelina Kamal highlighted the essential support received by the AHA Centre from its partners for the previous phase, which is already being utilised by the affected communities in Palu.
“In the early recovery period and after closely coordinating with the local government, it was agreed that the construction of permanent houses in the ASEAN Village would be carried out in Palu City. For this, we are very grateful to the Palu City administration for its permission and giving us an area in which to build permanent houses for the ASEAN Village in Tondo. Starting with joint coordination with the Palu City administration, the available funds were sufficient for the construction of the first phase of the ASEAN Village, consisting of 75 units of 36 m2 permanent houses using Conwood materials and technology. After the ground-breaking on August 6, 2019, the construction of the first phase of the ASEAN Village was completed in March 2020 and we handed this over to the Palu City administration virtually on April 16, 2020, and now the houses are being utilised by disaster-affected residents in Palu”.
She added that the Phase 2 construction through collaborative support from the AHA Centre and its partners provided the additional 25 homes and the two facilities in the area so that the residents could access health care and a place of worship. “The AHA Centre received another contribution from the people of Brunei Darussalam for the second phase of the ASEAN Village construction. This contribution has been utilised to build a mosque. This additional contribution from the people of Brunei Darussalam and some savings from the contribution by the Government of the Philippines, was then utilised to build the additional 25 houses. We would like to convey our special gratitude to PT Conwood Indonesia for finishing the construction of the additional permanent houses within budget and using good quality materials.”
As part of this second phase, the AHA Centre received contributions from Direct Relief to build the auxiliary health centre, fitted out with medical equipment. Previously, there was neither a mosque nor health facilities in the Tondo area. The Australian Government also agreed to continue its contribution to the operational funds of the AHA Centre.
”I represent Palu City and I express our happiness and pride in the AHA Centre. I hope this happiness can also be felt by survivors who will find real new optimism through the basic needs of a proper home that is safe from disaster, complete with fully equipped health facilities and a place of worship. We do hope people can benefit from this and utilise these facilities before Ramadhan” said Palu Mayor Mr H. Hadianto Rasyid in his opening speech at the ceremony. He also hoped that the work and support of the AHA Centre and its partners could inspire other organisations and be a model for good intervention in fulfilling the basic needs of affected communities in Palu.
As part of the ongoing series of construction projects, the AHA Centre’s next plan is to complete the construction of gates and monuments, which will then mark the ”official launch” of the ASEAN Village, tentatively scheduled for June 2021. The official launch will be attended both offline when conditions are amenable, and online.
Written by : Ilham Nugraha | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021:
CELEBRATING WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT
As part of 2021’s International Women’s Day and the month of celebrations that followed, the AHA Centre was engaged in an array of events and discussions promoting and highlighting women’s roles in disaster management and leadership. AHA Centre staff participated through online platforms, and the Centre’s Executive Director Ms Adelina Kamal was a keynote speaker for a number of these interesting events.
A key event was the virtual discussion held by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Women’s International Network for Disaster Risk Reduction (WIN DRR), UN Women and UNDRR’s Regional Office for Asia and Pacific. It engaged some of the Asia-Pacific region’s leading women in disaster management, and saw an array of diverse and inspiring women leaders sharing insights and concerns related to women’s role in disaster and the wider community – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Mami Mizutori, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, probed key areas of governance and participatory strategies by highlighting the need to ask government “Have you included woman in the making of strategies? Are women part of the decision-making and part of the implementation of these strategies?”. “If the answers are no” she continued, “then we need to strongly urge governments to involve women to get their feedback on the strategies”.
Ms Marian Grace L. Ticzon, a Youth Advocate from the National Rural Women Coalition in the Philippines, also brought some fresh and different insights to the discussion, speaking about some of the key issues faced by rural women and youth. “First are the pre-existing issues faced by most rural women and young women, in particular a lack of access to resources and basic services. Infrastructure and access to health services are barriers, as many live in remote areas and have difficulties accessing transport to health centres and services.” “Second is a lack of access to information” Ms Ticzon continued, “as many rural women don’t have an internet connection, particularly if they live in a remote area”.
AHA Centre Executive Director Ms Adelina Kamal spoke about leadership during crisis – among other important topics – and called on women to engage from early on to lead and support their communities.
“Leadership is tested during crisis, but leadership can also be moulded during crisis. It takes a skilled swordsmith and the hottest fire to forge a sword. The swordsmith can be our teacher or mentor that provides us with the great opportunity to learn, and the fire is the crisis that will make us versatile in future battle”.
– Adelina Kamal
Other key speakers also shared their insights on women’s leadership during the pandemic, including presentations from Ms Bandana Rana (UN CEDAW Community), Ms Emeline Siale Ilolahia (Executive Director of PIANGO), and Ms Michelle Chivunga N, (Founder/CEO Global Policy House). The discussion was moderated by Ms Elizabeth Puranam from Aljazeera, and set the tone to further advance the movement of women leaders within the disaster management sector, and under the pandemic context in general.
Another key event during the last month was the “Women Leaders in Building Disaster Resilience” held on March 31 by ARISE Philippines – a local subsidiary of ARISE (the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies) – who is a UNDRR-led network of private sector entities committed to support and implement the Sendai Framework and other key development policies. The event was implemented to recognise the important role of women participation and leadership in disaster risk reduction and resilience. Finally, another event that engaged Ms Kamal as a speaker was held by Asashi Shimbun, a newspaper from Japan, called Think Gender. Ms Kamal spoke to to inspire women, especially in Japan, to become leaders across an array of sectors and contexts.
Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo Credit: AHA Centre.
DISTRIBUTION OF TEMASEK FOUNDATION’S REUSABLE FACE MASKS:
MORE MASKS FOR MORE COMMUNITIES
The distribution of the Temasek Foundation’s reusable face masks – as covered in Volume 68 of the Column – has continued to reach many more recipients, including communities affected by the recent earthquake in West Sulawesi of Indonesia. The Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia – PMI) distributed the face masks in Mamuju and Majene – the two most affected areas in West Sulawesi – during the month of February 2021. Other local non-government organisations (NGOs) also have helped distribute the masks to the wider recipients.
Through the AHA Centre, Singapore’s Temasek Foundation donated 1.5 million reusable face masks at the end of 2020 to support the ongoing COVID-19 response in the region. The masks have been distributed to ASEAN Member States, ASEAN centres, entities related to ASEAN, and the PMI. These organisations then engage local non-profit organisations to deliver masks to ASEAN communities. According to PMI, the communities of West Sulawesi are increasingly vulnerable and at high risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the disaster situation. Therefore, distributing face masks to these communities can help prevent the spread of the virus. PMI itself received 512,000 face masks that have been distributed to several locations in Indonesia, including West Sulawesi.
As well as the PMI, Diberi Untuk Memberi (Given to Give) – a Jakarta-based non-profit organisation –also delivered face masks to communities in Mamuju. They had also previously been distributing masks to food sellers, local medical centres, and the general community in Jakarta.
Distribution to communities was also undertaken by the ASEAN Insurance Council in Tangerang Selatan, Banten. The Mayor of Tangerang Selatan City, Mr Benyamin Davnie, showed his appreciation for the ASEAN Insurance Council’s efforts, hoping that the spread of the virus could be reduced by having more people wearing face masks.
The AHA Centre staff have also voluntarily helped distribute the face masks to their networks. For example, Ms Yuni Wahyuningtyas, the AHA Centre Project Development Officer, channelled distribution to Canari Foundation, a local non-profit organisation. “I have several networks, especially local non-profit organisations. I think it’s good to also donate the face masks to these organisations so that they will reach the wider community”, she explained.
Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, highlighted her appreciation of Temasek Foundation’s support to the region’s fight against the pandemic, as well as all parties who have helped distribute the face masks.
“This cooperation between Temasek Foundation and AHA Centre reflects our commitment to fight hand-in-hand against the pandemic in the region”
“It’s also a pleasure knowing that this activity has engaged more local-based organisations and grass-root communities”,
– Adelina Kamal
Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo credit: ASEAN Insurance Council, Diberi untuk Memberi, Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI).
FOR THAILAND’S RESPONSE TO NEW OUTBREAK OF COVID-19
In collaboration with Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), the AHA Centre mobilised relief items as a response to the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand. There are currently more than 4,000 people under quarantine, most of whom are immigrant fisheries workers arriving from neighbouring ASEAN nations.
Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, explained that the mobilisation of relief items aims to augment Thailand government’s ongoing efforts to respond to COVID-19 outbreak in the province. “The ASEAN relief items are mobilised to support the operation of field hospitals that are now being set-up by the Government of Thailand. This mobilisation of support further showcases the solidarity of the ASEAN countries during this challenging situation”, Ms Kamal stated.
Supported by the Government of Japan through Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), the relief items comprising of 2,100 personal hygiene kits and 50 family tents, were mobilised from the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouse in Chainat, Thailand. As of 31 January 2021, four batches of items have been mobilised to two provinces, as well as directly to the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand.
The first batch (500 personal hygiene kits – PHK) was delivered to Nonthaburi Province on 4 January 2021, and the second batch comprising of 1,000 PHK were mobilised to Samut Sakhon Province on January 8. A total of 50 family tents were also delivered to the Ministry of Public Health as part of the third batch of items on 11 January. The last mobilisation was on January 30, and was made-up of 600 PHK that were sent to Nonthaburi Province. The remaining relief items will be mobilised by the DDPM after finalising the delivery schedule.
It is not the first time that the AHA Centre has mobilised ASEAN relief items to support ongoing operations responding to the impact of COVID-19. During the May to August 2020 period, the AHA Centre mobilised DELSA relief items from all three DELSA stockpiles located in Subang, Malaysia; Chainat, Thailand; and Quezon City, the Philippines. Five thousands PHK were mobilised from DELSA satellite warehouse in Quezon City, the Philippines, and sent to local government quarantine sites across the country as well as one mobile storage unit (MSU) was mobilised to the Department of Health for storing the medical equipment located in Manila. One Mobile Storage Unit and one pre-fabricated office were mobilised from the DELSA regional stockpile in Subang, Malaysia to support the coordination and management operations of a field hospital in Selangor. Also, one Mobile Storage Unit and 2,900 PHK were released from both the DELSA regional stockpile in Subang and the DELSA satellite warehouse in Chainat to support the pandemic response in Cambodia.
Such mobilisations of DELSA relief items to support COVID-19 – including the recent activity to support Thailand’s response – is based on the collective decision of the ASEAN Member States during the AHA Centre’s Governing Board Special Meeting in May 2020. It aims to provide specific support through relief items from the three DELSA locations as an interim measure to cover operational gaps in the pandemic responses of ASEAN nations.
Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo Credit : DDPM Thailand
Vol 68 – ASEAN-HELP-ASEAN: DISTRIBUTING TEMASEK FOUNDATION’S REUSABLE FACE MASKS TO SUPPORT ASEAN COMBATTING COVID-19
DISTRIBUTING TEMASEK FOUNDATION’S REUSABLE FACE MASKS TO SUPPORT ASEAN COMBATTING COVID-19
Singapore’s Temasek Foundation recently donated 1.5 million reusable face masks to the AHA Centre to be distributed to the communities in ASEAN Member States, as well as Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and other ASEAN centres and entities who are based in Jakarta, Indonesia. The donation aims to support the ongoing COVID-19 response in the region by ensuring people can continue their lives as safely as possible under current health protocols. The face masks have been distributed by the AHA Centre to ASEAN Member States through the National Disaster Management Organisations, as well as directly to other Jakarta-based stakeholders since December 2020.
Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, highlighted her appreciation of Temasek Foundation’s support to the region’s fight against the pandemic. “This cooperation between Temasek Foundation and AHA Centre reflects our commitment to fight hand-in-hand against the pandemic in the region,” she stated.
The overall donation by Temasek Foundation is comprised of 750,000 packs of reusable face masks, which include two reusable face masks in each pack, making the total donation of reusable masks reach 1.5 million. The packages were provided to the AHA Centre through Temasek Foundation’s supplier located in Tangerang, Indonesia, and continued to be distributed to all ASEAN stakeholders who accepted the offer through the AHA Centre.
This partnership effort also provided a significant opportunity for the AHA Centre, Temasek Foundation and other ASEAN bodies to further engage with local, grass-roots organisations to deliver the facemasks to communities. Examples were highlighted in Jakarta as the ASEAN Foundation worked alongside local non-profits – such as Diberi untuk Memberi (Given to Give) – to distribute masks to street food sellers, local medical centres and the general public throughout the island of Java. Such partnerships that span from regional to local level serve to represent the true unity in the region’s fight against the pandemic, as well as strengthen and develop networks between the engaging organisations.
This is not the first time that the AHA Centre and Temasek Foundation have worked side-by-side on humanitarian issues in the region. In late 2018 the two organisations worked together on disaster response efforts in Central Sulawesi, with Temasek Foundation providing direct material support for communities affected by the earthquake and tsunami – support that was facilitated and distributed through the AHA Centre’s broad network of responders in the field.
“We are grateful to Temasek Foundation for the support to the AHA Centre and the region. We hope to continue strengthening the partnership and good cooperation between the two organisations in the future,”
– Adelina Kamal
Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo Credit : Diberi untuk Memberi and AHA Centre
AHA CENTRE SUPPORTS
AHA CENTRE SUPPORTS TYPHOON-AFFECTED AREAS OF THE PHILIPPINES
During November 2020, within a short span of just a few weeks, communities across the Philippines have experienced extreme weather disturbances, including Tropical Storm SAUDEL, Typhoon MOLAVE, Tropical Storm ATSANI and Tropical Storm ETAU. The two strongest typhoons to strike the nation were Super Typhoon GONI (or locally known as ROLLY), and Typhoon VAMCO (or ULYSSES). In response to the impact of Super Typhoon GONI – that made landfall in the Philippines on 1 November 2020 – as well as the ongoing impacts of the other storms and typhoons, the AHA Centre was engaged to support the Government of the Philippines to respond to the people’s needs in the days and weeks that followed.
The AHA Centre released a large number of relief items stockpiled at the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouse in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the Philippines, to strengthen the government’s ongoing efforts to support typhoon-affected communities. Facilitated by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) of the Philippines, the first batch of ASEAN relief items were transported by the Navy on 15 November from the Port of Manila to the Bicol Region – which was the region most affected by Super Typhoon GONI. A second batch of relief items was transported to Marinduque Province on 30 November.
The ASEAN relief items, valued at almost USD900,000, included 2,946 rolls of tarpaulins, 100 shelter repair kits, 1,000 kitchen sets, 5,000 mosquito nets, 5,700 family kits, 5,010 jerry cans, 74 outdoor family tents, and also 1,000 indoor family tents that can be used by affected families inside evacuation centres. This response was the AHA Centre’s biggest response to disaster to date in 2020. It also evidenced the value of the DELSA Satellite Warehouse system – developed in 2019 and co-managed by the AHA Centre and the Philippines OCD – supporting the overall speed and accuracy of disaster response for the ASEAN region.
Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, stated that the mobilisation of ASEAN relief items – supported by Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and Direct Relief – represents the tangible solidarity of ASEAN and the spirit of ‘One ASEAN, One Response’. “The AHA Centre has been monitoring the disaster situation in the Philippines since October 2020 when several weather disturbances were first identified”, Ms Kamal explained, adding that “when we gathered and received information about the potential impacts caused by these extreme weather disturbances, our Emergency Operations Centre was activated, and this included working closely with our counterpart at the OCD of NDRRMC in the Philippines, as well as other ASEAN countries and partners for potential regional support”.
To provide situational awareness and common operating information on the effects of extreme weather disturbances, including Super Typhoon GONI, the AHA Centre also organised an executive briefing on 4 November 2020. The event was attended by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, ASEAN Member State representatives, diplomatic missions, defence attachés, and humanitarian partners from across the region. The Philippines OCD Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad provided a briefing on the latest situation from the affected provinces, as well as an update on impacts that the super typhoon was having on communities and infrastructure.
“The Philippines has been tested by multiple tropical cyclones, floods and other weather disturbances, within a span of only a few weeks. Our hearts and prayers are with the typhoon-affected communities, and we believe that the Filipino spirit is stronger than any typhoon,”
Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre.
Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo Credit : AHA Centre and NDRRMC – OCD of the Philippines
Vol 66 – TROPICAL STORMS LINFA AND NANGKA: THE AHA CENTRE’S FIRST DISASTER RESPONSE AMIDST THE PANDEMIC
TROPICAL STORMS LINFA AND NANGKA:
THE AHA CENTRE’S FIRST DISASTER RESPONSE AMIDST THE PANDEMIC
Significant weather activity during the middle of October, 2020, saw the AHA Centre mobilised ASEAN relief items in response to Tropical Storms LINFA and NANGKA that struck Viet Nam. Supported through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), the relief items were airlifted from the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) regional stockpile in Subang, Malaysia, with the assistance of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD). The items included 1,300 kitchen sets and 1,000 shelter repair kits, and reached Da Nang International Airport, Viet Nam in the evening of the 20th of October.
Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, stated that the AHA Centre worked closely with the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – Viet Nam Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, to monitor the impact of Tropical Storms LINFA and NANGKA. “We also intensified our disaster monitoring efforts from early October, after identifying the formation of the tropical storms,” Ms Kamal explained.
According to Ms Kamal, the relief items represent the tangible assistance and solidarity of the ASEAN nations, under the spirit of ‘One ASEAN, One Response’. This was also the AHA Centre’s first natural disaster response amidst the COVID-19 pandemic context, which meant that most preparations, including at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), were conducted remotely.
The disaster response effort within the pandemic context created a range of other new challenges for the AHA Centre team. Engaging partners and all other response stakeholders within a remote environment was a primary focus of the AHA Centre, as it worked out new and innovative ways to ensure its primary role was fulfilled regardless of the limitations caused by the situation. On 15 October, the AHA Centre organised an online Executive Briefing for all ASEAN Member States, diplomatic missions and humanitarian partners, together with the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority. This gathering worked to provide situational awareness and a common operating overview of the impacts resulting from Tropical Storms LINFA and NANGKA in the ASEAN region. The briefing was attended by over 40 invitees, including the Secretary-General of ASEAN H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi and the Deputy Director-General of the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA) Mr. Nguyen Van Tien. Both these key stakeholders also provided strong and clear input during the Executive Briefing.
The widespread floods caused by Tropical Storms LINFA and NANGKA not only affected multiple provinces through central Viet Nam, but also impacted other areas in Cambodia and Lao PDR. More than 800,000 people in Viet Nam were affected by the storms, with more than 66,500 people evacuated. The AHA Centre remained on stand-by to support and coordinate with the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority, as well as continue to monitor the situation in Viet Nam and other ASEAN countries. “We do hope that the relief items will lighten up the spirit of the communities affected by the storms in central Viet Nam,” Ms Kamal added.
Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo Credit : VNDMA for AHA Centre