ASEAN STANDS IN SOLIDARITY
WITH THE TYPHOON-AFFECTED PEOPLE IN THE PHILIPPINES
On 16 December 2021, Typhoon Rai (known as Odette in the Philippines) made landfall on Siargao Island in southeastern Philippines, leaving a devastating trail of debris and human casualties in its wake. More than 3 million persons were affected by the disaster, resulting in the over 250 deaths while another 568 persons were injured and 47 reported missing.
The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) immediately responded to the crisis by mobilising ASEAN relief items stockpiled at the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouse in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the Philippines. This mobilisation aimed to augment the government’s ongoing efforts to help people affected by Typhoon Rai (Odette) in the Philippines.
A total of 541 shelter repair kits, 275 family tents, 5,000 family kits, 1,000 rolls of tarpaulin, 5,000 personal hygiene kits, and 1,000 kitchen sets were delivered with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and Direct Relief. Facilitated by the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) of the Philippines, the ASEAN relief items were transported to the regions severely affected by Typhoon Rai (Odette), namely the provinces of Surigao, Cebu, and Bohol.
In the Letter of Condolences sent to Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, Secretary-General (SG) of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi highlighted that the ASEAN stood ready to support the on-going humanitarian and disaster-relief efforts. SG Dato Lim stated that “I have strong confidence in the leadership of the Government of Philippines and the people’s resilience to bring about normalcy in the affected areas”.
Mr. Lee Yam Ming, Executive Director of the AHA Centre, conveyed the Centre’s deepest sympathies to those who had been affected by the disaster. “The AHA Centre has been monitoring the disaster situation in the Philippines since the last two weeks when several weather disturbances were first identified” he said. The Centre activates the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) when receiving and gathering information about the potential impacts caused by weather disturbances.
He stated that the mobilisation of ASEAN relief items represented tangible ASEAN solidarity in the spirit of ‘One ASEAN, One Response’. The ASEAN relief items, he continued, demonstrated the tangible support from the ASEAN Member States to the typhoon-affected people in the Philippines.
The AHA Centre worked closely with the Office of Civil Defense of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (OCD – NDRRMC) in the Philippines, as well as ASEAN countries and partners in monitoring the situation and identifying potential regional support. An In-Country Liaison Team (ICLT) was also deployed to closely work with the Philippine government. “The AHA Centre will be closely monitoring the situation in the Philippines with the relevant stakeholders and be ready to provide necessary support,” he concluded.
Written by : Gladys Respati | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
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
RECIPE FOR INNOVATION
To “hack” means to crack a problem or discover its solution. In information technology, it has the connotation of breaking into security systems. Hackathons are competitions designed to do the first. Some hackathons are hardware-based, like designing a new product, some are software-based, but there are hackathons that are really about exploring new solutions to old problems in the traditional non-tech-based sense – that is looking at business processes (in our case, development processes) and how these can be more appropriate, more responsive, more impactful.
Risdianto Irawan and I had a simple programme for the AHAckathon when we started to plan the event. The idea was to set the rules and parameters, launch the clock, check-in with the teams, then wait 48 hours to complete and collect the final entries. The game changer was when HELP Logistics introduced us to Impact Week and launchlabs. That changed the way we organised the AHAckathon for the better.
Impact Week is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship skill development in developing and emerging economies by using Design Thinking to develop sustainable growth solutions. Meanwhile, launchlabs Berlin supports start-ups and teams in applying design thinking and other agile approaches to optimise the process of innovation to benefit organisations.
Michael Koegel of Impact Week designed the three-day event using the Design Thinking process. He brought in 10 professional Design Thinking coaches to guide the AHAckathon teams from problem sensing to ideation, prototyping, validation and pitch preparation. The coaches were start-uppers themselves or had a rich experience coaching other start-ups. If I were competing in AHAckathon, just the opportunity to learn about the Design Thinking process and go through it with an expert coach would already be a win in itself!
If you came to witness how through AHAckathon, more than 50 students and professionals who knew nothing about humanitarian logistics, came together, some of them meeting for the first time, and within 48 hours came up with apps to solve our six HELiX design challenges, you would be as amazed as I was at how that was achieved within a very short period of time. You might think the apps were not impressive or groundbreaking but to me they were, and that is because I know that the hackers put their heart and soul into what they were doing to help the humanitarian community and disaster-at-risk communities to have the tools accessible to them to make better decisions and to be more resilient.
The problem-solving process would not have been a success without the mentors and experts who shared their knowledge and experience in humanitarian logistics. Part of the Design Thinking process is to interview users and experts. This subgroup in AHAckathon included those experts on the topics that the teams were working on as well as community leaders, decision-makers and user groups – those who have experienced disasters and/or are the target users of the apps themselves. Organising the technical experts was the much easier part – with thanks to our partners who were always rolling up their sleeves for the AHA Centre: the United Nations Humanitarian Resource Depot (UNHRD) and World Food Programme, and our DELSA Satellite Warehouse hosts, Office of the Civil Defense of the Philippines and the Thailand Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. I would also like to thank a good friend and colleague of mine who agreed to be a mentor at the last minute, Shirley Bolanos who wears many hats such as decision-maker (as part of the regional DRRM council), victim (she lives in the most disaster-prone region in the Philippines) and as a humanitarian worker who has responded to many disasters in the country.
And finally, kudos to the seven teams who devoted their time, energy, creativity and experience, you were the protagonists and main ingredients in the success of AHAckathon!
RECIPE FOR INNOVATION IN HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS
- ▸ On-point statement of the problem (user perspective is best)
- ▸ Overflow of ideas (no measuring cup required)
- ▸ New pairs of lenses for looking at the same problem
- ▸ Indomitable spirit of discovery
- ▸ “So what if, then what?” mindset
- ▸ There-must-be-a-better-way-to-do-this attitude
- ▸ Try on new pairs of lenses to look at the problem then ask, “So what if? Then what?”. Talk to different stakeholders who will use, support or oppose your idea. Repeat using your indomitable spirit of discovery.
- ▸ State the problem using the different lenses you have discovered. Be a child, be a victim, be a decision-maker, be a pregnant woman lining up for your service. What is preventing them from getting the most out of your service or idea?
- ▸ Brainstorm ideas, do not sift, pound nor crush. Let ideas run wild and overflow.
- ▸ Use what is left of your indomitable spirit of discovery to try out the solutions. Repeat the process until you feel you have nailed a human-centred solution. It should taste sweet, not leaving a bad taste in the process.
- ▸ Never give up. Just keep pushing forward.
- ▸When you find the right solution, go back to step 1 to see how you can further improve your solution.
Written by : Gaynor Tanyang | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
ASEAN DELIVERS ON COVID-19 HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO MYANMAR
In a virtual ceremony held on 15 September, USD 1.1 million worth of medical supplies and equipment were handed over to the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) in support of that nation’s COVID-19 response. Contributing to the implementation of the “Five Point Consensus” on Myanmar agreed at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in April this year, the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar aims to address the most pressing humanitarian needs of the people of Myanmar.
The AHA Centre, as the operational lead, facilitated the delivery of the assistance, while, the MRCS, as a local partner, supported ASEAN by facilitating the request for tax-exemption and customs-clearance with the Myanmar local authorities, as well as providing temporary storage and last-mile distribution of the medical supplies and equipment to the communities in need in Myanmar.
The handover, which was attended by the Secretary-General of ASEAN H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre Mr. Lee Yam Ming, and representatives of ASEAN Member States and donor countries, was the first result of the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar that was previously promised at a Pledging Conference hosted by the ASEAN Secretary-General.
At the Pledging Conference held on 18 August, Dato Lim Jock Hoi had called for a strong show of support for the people of Myanmar, in the spirit of “One ASEAN, One Response”. The support subsequently handed over to the MRCS is a concrete manifestation of this spirit, provided as it was by the governments of Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and Temasek Foundation International. The next batch is expected to be provided by Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, and Viet Nam, along with other donor countries and organisations.
Some USD 8 million in monetary pledges and in-kind contributions of medicine, medical supplies and equipment to assist Myanmar in containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus was raised at the conference. During the conference Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General to Myanmar Ms. Christine Schraner Burgener, on behalf of the UN Secretary-General H.E. Antonio Guterres, said,
UN humanitarian actors on the ground led by the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator will work to strengthen cooperation and seek complementarity with ASEAN’s AHA Centre.
In his remarks at the handover of the aid, Dato Lim Jock Hoi underscored the importance of extending a helping hand to the people of Myanmar in the realisation of a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community. He thanked the five donor countries and Temasek Foundation International, and expressed his confidence that the assistance would alleviate the sufferings of the people of Myanmar in this critical time.
The Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar, Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, in his recorded remarks at the handover said the COVID-19 pandemic was “the common enemy” that exposed the vulnerabilities not only of our socio-economic structures, but the fragility of human life. In his remarks, he urged the international community to continue giving support and to complement ASEAN’s efforts, further highlighting that the “provision of humanitarian assistance is a true reflection of the ‘ASEAN Way’, and demonstrated our commitment to help our ASEAN family when they are in need.”
ASEAN’s operational plan led by the AHA Centre will focus firstly on life-saving measures through the provision of immediate needs towards the COVID-19 response and mitigation, and thereafter proceed to address life-sustaining priorities of broader humanitarian needs. ASEAN’s humanitarian assistance will be supported by humanitarian partners in Myanmar, including the MRCS.
Written by : Michael Hegarty | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
BLENDED FORMAT ENSURES ACE PROGRAMME RESTART
This year, the AHA Centre once again invited talented individuals from the ASEAN Member States to join the latest batch of the ACE Programme. Batch Seven of the ACE Programme was initially planned for 2020 but like so much else it was interrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic did not, however, prevent the AHA Centre from improving and redesigning the delivery of this programme. With the main support from the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and various other partners, Batch Seven of ACE Programme is now being conducted through blended mode. The online training kicked off on 28 July 2021, and the onsite part of the programme is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2022.
The cornerstone of the programme lies in the interaction among peers during the six-month duration. It was not an easy decision to convert the ACE Programme into an online setting. Over six years the programme had been delivered face-to-face to build a strong relationship among disaster managers across the region. Now given the challenging conditions in the world, we were forced to be creative and to do things differently. The team went through back-to-back consultations with the Project Steering Committee and NDMOs as well as training partners, weighing all options available without sacrificing the learning objectives. The framework and curriculum remain the same, however, the learning approach has been switched to a Flipped Classroom, where the class is mainly used for discussions, rehearsals and clarifying information. Subsequently, the team sought the most suitable online learning infrastructure to cater to the needs of the ACE Programme.
And it is not only the training delivery itself, the AHA Centre also turned the launch of the programme into a virtual event. On Friday, 6 August 2021, the virtual ceremony for the ACE Programme Batch Seven was held to officially welcome 21 future leaders in disaster management in ASEAN. The event was well-attended by high-level dignitaries from the ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Dialogue Partners. Commissioner Eric Yap from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, H.E. Akira Chiba, Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN, H.E. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community along with Ms. Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre all delivered their opening remarks to officially launch the 21 professionals in disaster management as the future leaders in disaster management in ASEAN.
Transforming the level of engagement in the online setting event, the invitees actively participated in a trivia quiz about the ACE Programme. The questions recalled the memories and journey that are the past and present of the ACE Programme. It also acknowledged the important role of the partners who support the programme. In fact, the ACE Programme is unique in that it brings together experts in humanitarian assistance and disaster management from around the globe. These partners have facilitated the training programme from the beginning. The Chargé d’Affaires of the New Zealand Mission to ASEAN, Mr. Charlie Gillard; Deputy Head of Office of the OCHA Regional Office Asia Pacific, Mr. Michael Saad; IFRC Head of Country Cluster Support Team and Representative to ASEAN, Mr. Jan Gelfand; Senior Disaster Management Specialist of PDC, Mr. Joel Myhre; and Mr. Jermaine Baltazar Bayas of Oxfam and the AADMER Partnership Group expressed their support, stressing the importance of the ACE Programme, and also encouragement for the participants of this batch.
Written by : Ferosa Arsadita & Shella Ningtias | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
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.