DELSA CAMP AGUINALDO
FIRST YEAR SUCCESS
Moving away from the usual Other Side focus of ASEAN disaster management individuals, this Volume takes a look into one the region’s most influential disaster management projects – the DELSA satellite warehouse in the Philippines – as it celebrates its first anniversary since opening in 2019.
The Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) is an integral part of the AHA Centre’s operations, and is central to the Centre’s efforts to implement disaster management under the “One ASEAN, One Response” vision. July 2019 saw the launching of the second satellite warehouse in Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippines, which coincided with the beginning of disaster awareness month in the nation. The development of the facility, and the satellite warehouse system, aims to serve as a network of emergency stockpiles located across the ASEAN region.
Since its launch, the warehouse has stood to support increased speed and scale of disaster response efforts through the use of various innovations, with the stockpile warehouse system ensuring relief items are now closer to disaster-prone countries. This allows for increased predictability of ASEAN’s response efforts, which forms a primary element for an overall improvement in the credibility of ASEAN disaster response implementation.
The development and operation of the satellite warehouse has been strongly supported by the Government of the Philippines, including the initial allocation of the dedicated location inside the Armed Forces of the Philippines Logistics Command Premises, Camp General Emilio, in Quezon City. The government has also worked to co-manage the warehouse stockpile with the AHA Centre, specifically through the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).
Within one year of its launch, the DELSA satellite warehouse in Camp Aguinaldo has served its purpose by mobilising USD 90,000 worth of relief items to disaster situations. These relief items include a Mobile Storage Unit and 5,000 Personal Hygiene Kits, that were distributed as part of the nation’s COVID-19 response during March–April 2020.
The DELSA programme is continuously supported by the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), with the warehouse development across both the Philippines and Thailand evidencing the ongoing strength in partnerships and collaboration that has been developed by the AHA Centre throughout its years of operations in the ASEAN region.
Written by : Ina Rachmawati | Photo : AHA Centre
Rahmawati Husein is the Deputy Chairperson of the Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Centre (MDMC) in Indonesia, which is a disaster management and humanitarian-focused organisation that stems from one of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisations – Muhammadiyah. The AHA Centre spoke to Ms Husein about the organisation’s beginnings, and her own views on the state of disaster management in the ASEAN region.
Ms Husein has been with the MDMC since its initial foundation, which came about after she was sent to Aceh by Muhammadiyah to support the distribution and monitoring of relief items after the earthquake and tsunami in 2004. Ms Husein remained involved with the recovery efforts in Aceh, and then as other natural disasters continued to occur – such as the earthquakes in Yogyakarta and Sumatera – members of Muhammadiyah were increasingly engaged in response and relief efforts. Finally, in 2010, the MDMC was formally established, allowing the members to increase capability and opportunity to support disaster efforts across Indonesia. Rahmawati Husein was designated as the Deputy Chairperson at that time, and has maintained the role for the best part of a decade.
Over the years the MDMC has expanded its presence and engagement, and has even taken on roles responding to disasters across the ASEAN region. “The MDMC deployed a team to the Philippines in response to the Typhoon Haiyan in 2013” Ms Husein explains. “Also, we were engaged in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Myanmar during 2016-2017, together with other organisations from Indonesia.” She highlights the appreciation and welcoming approach by local governments towards the MDMC in these situations, and believes that this allowed her team to evidence their role within regional disaster and humanitarian action.
Moving on to what she has experienced from a regional disaster management perspective, Ms Husein highlights the strong and improved coordination amongst ASEAN Member States. “At times of disaster we always work together” she states. She also recognises the role and value of the AHA Centre, and highlights the organisation’s critical position coordinating relief items and activities in responding to disaster. According to Ms Husein, this value was increasingly visible during the Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami response in 2018.
It is a lifelong passion for humanitarian activity that drives Ms Husein, and even led her to complete her PhD in Disaster Management. She continues to remain engaged with the MDMC and the region in disaster management activities.
“Due to the region being prone to natural disaster, engaging in humanitarian action remains significantly important”.
Written by : Moch Syifa and William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
The AHA Centre’s own Risdianto Irawan – or Risdi as we know him – was first drawn to the disaster management field after feeling the huge earthquake that led to the 2004 tsunami, as he undertook his chemical engineering studies in Medan, Indonesia. Risdi recalls the significant increases in casualties being announced, and as numbers ticked over into 100,000 souls he decided to determine his path towards helping communities affected by disaster.
It was in these early years that Risdi realised the increasing need for information technology and computer programming within disaster management, as he took on various roles within IT and database work, finding himself working on such tasks in Aceh during 2007 as the region continued with its reconstruction and recovery phases. After numerous roles, Risdi moved to Jakarta and joined Mercy Corps, finding himself involved with the Indonesian Response Team and engaged in more direct disaster response. “I found myself working up into management and coordination during this time” he remembers, “then also having the opportunity to study courses in Africa, Singapore, and also the Emerging Leadership Programme through Portland University’s School of Business”.
As Risdi’s work became more focused towards IT leadership and coordination, he made a move to the AHA Centre within a year of finishing studies at Portland University. He highlights the significant difference between his early roles and more recently, in particular the direct field engagement that has changed over time. “With organisations like Mercy Corps we had direct engagement in disaster, as we were in the field and responding” Risdi says. “As the AHA Centre works at the regional level and coordinates response, we find ourselves more often within National Disaster Management Organisations, helping and supporting their work in responding directly to communities.” Risdi notes the difference in preparation and engagement – in particular the contrast between stress management in fieldwork as compared to diplomacy approaches required at a coordination level.
Risdi has, however, continued to be challenged and engaged in response as part of his work with the AHA Centre. As an ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) member, Risdi has been deployed to disasters to support teams during disasters such as the 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, the 2020 Jakarta floods, and also to engage with the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) 2019 exercise in Thailand. While he understands his role has changed, Risdi does believe that “while my contribution may be small working on Information Communication Technology (ICT) from the office, it still supports and has a great impact to those in the field”.
Throughout his experience, Risdi has witnessed the growing importance of ICT for disaster management, and particularly as part of the ASEAN regional context. He highlights its importance, both through simple yet integral instances such as telecommunication access during response, alongside the utilisation of Big Data in detecting, warning and information dissemination systems. Part of Risdi’s current work is determining how to further support the ASEAN-ERAT responders with modern and resilient telecommunications, and this is an area that forms a key focus for the AHA Centre’s recently published ICT Roadmap. Risdi also highlights the ongoing identification of Big Data’s extended role in disaster management, through its utilisation across disaster analysis, disaster prediction, and then into prescription. Risdi finishes by stating that this type of ICT work is not only for the AHA Centre and the ERAT programme, but that “I also hope this work can be utilised and have a positive impact in the future for other humanitarian actors, as well as ASEAN communities themselves”.
Written : by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
INTERNSHIP AT THE AHA CENTRE
Callista Sandi joined the AHA Centre as an Intern in the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme after completing her first year of her International Relations Bachelor degree at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, and will continue studying through Tokyo International University. In this volume’s Other Side article, Callista shares with us her experience and insights after eleven months with the AHA Centre team.
I have always been interested in the humanitarian field, especially disaster management and disaster diplomacy. As an International Relations student studying International Politics, Law and Economics, this opportunity provided me a deeper understanding on the importance of multilateral coordination between ASEAN Member States. The internship increased my connection to my own country by understanding Indonesia’s disaster management capabilities at the national level, as well as our contribution and role in strengthening regional capacity. The internship experience also complimented my educational learning objectives by analysing disasters through disaster diplomacy, that urges disaster-related activities to remove diplomatic barriers, in particular for humanitarian purposes.
Being an intern at the AHA Centre also enhanced my understanding about the communities and policy makers within ASEAN disaster management, and the efforts of the ASEAN region to develop future-ready disaster management mechanisms. It is a great example for me as an undergraduate student to understand, contextualise and analyse such disaster management mechanisms within the ASEAN context. The programme serves as a strong platform for young leaders who want to push their ideas and who enjoy interactive discussions on disaster management.
One of the most interesting aspects of being an intern in the ACE Programme was the opportunity to interact with experts from the sector, which provided me a more holistic understanding as I was able to learn from their own experiences. This ensured that my internship moved beyond understanding only technical concepts, and allowed me to engage more widely within the disaster management community.
Being part of the ACE Programme allowed me to understand disaster management from various lenses, and even more importantly from a youth perspective. One of my favourite aspects of the ACE Programme is that it provides us as the future generation input into the disaster management sector, and a fresh voice within the AHA Centre itself. These fresh voices and views are nurtured in the ACE Programme, that is undertaking efforts to re-design its framework to even better prepare emerging disaster management leaders to be future ready. The ACE Programme is funded by Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).
But what does it mean, what does it require, and who should be involved in this idea of ‘future-ready’? Through this experience I learned that being future-ready means bridging the technology gap to disaster management. It’s time for disaster management to be more aware of the opportunities’ technology has to offer. With the evolution of the disaster management sector, future utilisation of technology will be more dominant, and therefore our region must completely open itself to engaging technology within all aspects of disaster management.
Written : by : Callista Sandi | Photo : AHA Centre
Jommel Merano is the National Logistics Officer for the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA), based in one of the two new DELSA satellite warehouses – located in the Philippines. He joined the AHA Centre team in late 2018 with two decades of experience in the disaster management sector, including working with the Philippines Office of Civil Defense (1999-2012) and the Philippine Red Cross (2012-2015). Drawn to the humanitarian field by the opportunity to further support communities around him, Jommel says the work brings him pride and joy. He feels that continuing such work with the AHA Centre allows him to play his noble part supporting his country and the region in the face of disaster.
Jommel first engaged with the AHA Centre in its early years when he was part of the second ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) training, and has since been deployed to six disaster missions – five within the Philippines and one in Indonesia. He has felt lucky to continue contributing to developing future ASEAN-ERAT members as a facilitator and mentor during the 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th ASEAN-ERAT Induction Courses. Jommel has also participated in a range of regional activities, and has recently completed the ASEAN-ERAT Level 2 Advance Course on Humanitarian Logistics.
“Such deployments and trainings continue to provide me an in depth understanding of ASEAN regional disaster mechanisms”
– Jommel Merano
Joining the AHA Centre through his role in the Philippines DELSA satellite warehouse, Jommel recognised the great opportunity to take part in the historic establishment and expansion of the DELSA system. Not only did it give him the opportunity to be part of something new and exciting, but also a chance to further engage and support not only the Philippines but also the other ASEAN Member States who are so well supported by the DELSA mechanism. More specifically, the role sees Jommel responsible for managing activities related to mobilisation, monitoring and maintenance of AHA Centre’s relief stock items that are stored at the satellite warehouse facility.
Jommel’s experience both recently with the DELSA programme and more broadly within the disaster management system as a whole has given him some clear and relevant insights on the future of disaster management for ASEAN and its people. He applies this to his current role when he states that “humanitarian logistics has always been an important factor in disaster relief operations”. “Now that the AHA Centre has established DELSA satellite warehouses in the ASEAN region, deployment of ASEAN relief items will become easier, and it will increase the speed and scale of ASEAN response” he continues.
“The commitment and engagement of ASEAN Member State National Disaster Management Organisations towards humanitarian logistics will surely result in increased capacity throughout ASEAN disaster management practices, which is strongly in line with the vision of One ASEAN One Response.”
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
AHA CENTRE INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE (DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS)
Recently the AHA Centre has been supported by Justin Chin, undertaking an internship on disaster monitoring and analysis. The following article is an insight into the experience from Justin, including the experiences and learnings he gained during the time.
Before I embarked on my disaster monitoring and analysis internship with the AHA Centre, the most closely related experiences and knowledge I could rely on was a passion in serving and empowering communities through volunteer work, using scientific knowledge on natural disasters from my undergraduate studies. My goal for this internship was to explore this field of humanitarian assistance and disaster management that was essentially entirely new to me. And as I look back on my internship journey, I can say what an eye-opening ride and valuable experience it has been!
The range of opportunities to learn and perform can be diverse in the AHA Centre, if only one is open and willing to venture even when the opportunity may lie outside of your skillset and speciality. This also means that the internship is never boring or repetitive – an exciting prospect for those who dislike mundane or office-bound work! I am glad that I approached the opportunities offered with an open mind to learn and gain experiences beyond my core role scope, even if they potentially distracted me from my everyday work. Of the many experiences and tasks worked on throughout my internship, I will focus on three of the highlights here.
Firstly, the 12th ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) Induction Course. It was a privilege to learn from experienced ASEAN-ERAT members and work alongside these veterans, who shared their stories and knowledge and patiently guided us through the intricacies of disaster response based on their unique perspectives from past deployments. As part of the exercise control team, I helped facilitate the 72-hour disaster response simulation, which gave me an overview and understanding of the simulation exercise progress and the preparation work that went into it even before the course began; a taste of running such a course and exercise. I also saw first-hand the bigger picture of how all the smaller segments of work come together to achieve the purpose and effectiveness of the ASEAN-ERAT operations on the ground. Ultimately, it was fulfilling to see all 23 course participants become qualified ASEAN-ERAT members who can respond to any natural disaster in ASEAN within 24 hours, and heartening to know that ASEAN has such an established regional response system.
Secondly, I got to contribute, through my own research project, to forming a country-specific statistical basis for recommendations on the AHA Centre’s response actions at the ASEAN regional level. This also increased my understanding of the recent history of natural disasters and responses in the ASEAN region.
Thirdly, as part of the AHA Centre’s response to the Lao PDR floods in September 2019, I monitored the disaster impacts and needs, contributed to the analysis work, and co-produced daily situation reports. It was a stressful and tiring period, with difficulties in obtaining quick and reliable information on the disaster situation, impacts and humanitarian needs. Flexibility was required to deal with the unpredictable changes as the disaster response unfolded. At the same time, this proved useful for honing my skills in information management and my understanding of the ASEAN regional mechanisms and frameworks in emergency response and disaster management, including how the AHA Centre transforms to an Emergency Response Organisation structure, and one of the AHA Centre’s core operations and purpose of existence – emergency response.
Justin Chin is final year student from Nanyang Technological University, majoring in Environmental Earth Systems Science.
Written : by Justin Chin : | Photo : AHA Centre
MR RAY SHIRKHODAI
Mr Ray Shirkhodai has spent the last 20 years of his career developing science and technology for disaster reduction. He is currently the Executive Director of the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) – a global science and technology centre for disaster risk reduction and intelligence managed by the University of Hawaii – and a steady partner of the AHA Centre since its early years. Ray was the primary architect of DisasterAWARE, PDC’s advanced multi-hazard early warning and decision support platform, powering PDC’s mobile and internet applications, as well as AHA Centre’s Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS). Ray has also led PDC’s support of major international disaster relief operations both at home and abroad. With a background in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, he has been at the forefront of disaster-related technology since joining the PDC in 2002, and after a career in software engineering dating back to the 1980’s.
Originally serving as Chief Information Officer (CIO,) and then Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ray became the Executive Director of PDC in 2007, by which time he had already began his engagement with disaster management in the ASEAN region. He remembers those early days, including the 2004 launch of the ASEAN Regional Programme on Disaster Management (ARPDM), when pledging PDC’s partnership to the regional disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts. “My personal engagements with ASEAN have included direct involvement with the 10-member NDMO ICT Gap analysis, establishing the Disaster Information Sharing and Communications Network (DISCNet), the first AADMER Strategic Work Programme 2010-2015, Interim AHA Centre ICT Gap Analysis and proposed position staffing, and of course, DMRS deployments, just to name few,” Ray said.
Ray also highlights partnerships with individual nations as important, citing PDC collaborations and agreements as an integral part of the overall regional approach. “We’ve had decade-long partnerships in DRR with many of the Member States, including DisasterAWARE deployments in Thailand (2006-2008), Viet Nam (2012-2017), Indonesia (2014-2019), along with other risk assessments and DRR-related engagements with those Member States as well as with Myanmar and the Philippines. We’ve also collaborated very closely with Singapore to deliver various trainings, and build DRR capacity.”
He also highlights current ongoing programmes with ASEAN, including enhancing DMRS and Information Communication Technology (ICT) adoption and DRR application usage in the region, working both directly with Member States, as well as with ASEAN through the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and the AHA Centre.
Ray also has a lot to say regarding the impressive advances he has seen in the ASEAN region – both within individual Member States and the region as a whole. “ASEAN and its Member States have made significant individual (national) and collective (regional) strides in information technology adoptions related to DRR within a relatively short 15-year timeframe” he said. “The ratification of AADMER, along with strategic development plans have helped the nations and the region to steadily invest in, and improve usage of new technologies for DRR purposes.”
When questioned regarding the importance of ICT for DRR, Ray is strong and passionate in response.
“Technology can help us save more lives, faster. I believe that the trends for adoption and utilisation of AI and ICT are destined to accelerate with the commoditisation of ICT and related services brought about by cloud-computing” he said. “It is therefore, most important to invest in the development of DRR applications and content to influence the effectiveness of DRR policies and practices within the region.”
Written : by William Shea : | Photo : AHA Centre
Alistair Cook is one of the ASEAN region’s leading academics in the disaster management field, and has been engaged with the AHA Centre and its work not long often the organisation was founded during 2011. He currently sits as a senior fellow and coordinator of the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief programme at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS Centre) at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
As Alistair explains, “this basically means i am in a team of five researchers that focus on humanitarian affairs in the Asia-Pacific, tracking longer-term trends, understanding localised contexts, and reflecting on past experiences to inform policymaking today and planning for the future”.
His journey to his current situation is full of experience, with Alistair arriving in Singapore in July 2009 to take on a position as a post-doctoral fellow on the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund Asia Security Initiative at RSIS. “At that time, the MacArthur Foundation had selected RSIS, through the leadership of the NTS Centre, as a core institution to head and lead research in Cluster 3 on Internal Challenges in 2009” Alistair explains. Prior to that, Alistair completed his PhD studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia, focused on the emergence of regional humanitarian norms in the Southeast Asian region.
When asked about his interest in researching non-traditional security issues, Alistair highlights regional disaster management mechanisms as of increasing importance. “Non-traditional security threats are issues that pose challenges to societal wellbeing, yet have varied levels of interest by decision-makers in governments and non-governmental actors compared to higher profile security issues like interstate conflict, terrorism and nuclear proliferation” Alistair tells us. He continues to explain that such NTS issues affect more people, and pose longer-term challenges to states and societies. “This is particularly important in Southeast Asia, where countries in the region face natural hazards as well as internal conflicts that threaten the safety and security of people and states” he says. Alistair then continues to explain the context of disaster management and emergency response as policy issue areas that States and societies in Southeast Asia can cooperate on for the mutual benefit of the entire region and its people. “This area of cooperation provides policymakers with insight into developing people-centric and whole-of-society approaches, and through my academic research and reflection I hope to offer insights and constructively contribute to this policy area.
Alistair also talks about the AHA Centre’s role in the region, and how he sees it into the future. “I think AHA Centre knows its strengths and is building upon them, however there is still work to be done on communicating to others on what this role is” he explains. “I imagine that stronger linkages to other relevant entities in the international community and at the sub-national level will be growth areas as we move forward to implementing the ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management.”
Finally, Alistair also highlights the future for increasing interaction between the scientific sector and decision-makers in disaster management, identifying the need for balance and understanding the value of ‘slow-burn’ research activities. “If we’re not able to take a step back and reflect on the whole picture, then it will ultimately affect our ability to be relevant and offer insights from our research” he reminds us. Alistair states that while sometimes academics are able to offer more immediate observations, their research space is an area worth protecting to allow for reflection and critical engagement with the actions, directions and trends emerging in the region over longer periods of time.
“For humanitarian affairs this is all the more important” he says, “as we’re often in a fast-paced environment with relatively little time spent to reflect on the actions and direction of the sector”.
Written by William Shea : | Photo : AHA Centre
Having played a large role as a facilitator within the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme over recent years, New Zealand’s Chris Webb continued his interaction with the ASEAN region’s next disaster management leaders during 2019’s programme, taking on his role as the lead facilitator of the Critical Incident Leadership course. Alongside engaging with participants to learn about new concepts such as meta-leadership in Jakarta and then in New Zealand, Mr Webb also worked with the group during a number of their activities visiting New Zealand’s disaster management sites and institutions.
Before taking on a role as a facilitator, Mr Webb worked in the New Zealand National Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) as Professional Development Manager, and for the 12 years before that he was the head of the Emergency and Disaster Management Department at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Mr Webb’s postgraduate qualifications in Emergency and Disaster Management also come from the same university, and add to his vast knowledge and experience in the disaster management sector.
Engaging as a facilitator in the ACE Programme for the past five years, including during 2019 in Jakarta and the New Zealand study trip, Mr Webb states that he has enjoyed every minute of the experience, and is always impressed with the enthusiasm that ACE participants show towards learning. He is confident that ACE graduates will strongly contribute to the future of disaster management in their own nations, as well as in the wider circles of the region and the world. Mr Webb feels that the relationships established and maintained by ACE participants definitely have great value for the One ASEAN, One Response vision. He likes to use the term “Leadership is a journey – a personal journey”, and at the end of the programme often sees that participants have embraced this form of personal development within their own context.
Outside of the ACE Programme itself, Mr Webb also believes that the greatest need for the ASEAN region is that Member States and supporting bodies continue to extend their focus outside of just disaster response, and further into the areas of disaster risk reduction and public education. He reminds us that disaster is very complex, and that the world of disaster management is part of the environment that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). Establishing and maintaining relationships, as well as communicating and leading across a wide range of groups, cultures and thinking preferences is critical as ASEAN continues to move forward in disaster management. He says that as future leaders in ASEAN, ACE participants must acknowledge that leaders need to work with others, and must learn to lead themselves. Being a self-reflective leader is critical in disaster management, and it forms an area that Mr Webb is passionate about.
Mr Webb finishes his chat with us by highlighting what he sees as one of the greatest opportunities for the AHA Centre to have a valuable influence in global disaster management – which according to him is the Centre’s own experience, and the reality of such experiences. The AHA Centre understands the complexity of managing disaster within populous areas and with a variety of different cultures and peoples. He reminds us that there is a wealth of experience within ASEAN, and if this can be harnessed further, it could contribute greatly to the current body of global disaster management knowledge.
Written by : Putri Mumpuni | Photo : AHA Centre
DR. WILLIAM SABANDAR
Continuing on from last month, this volume’s Other Side draws on the experience of an ASEAN’s leader in disaster management – Dr. William Sabandar – an experienced presenter in the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme’s Leaders Talk series. Dr. Sabandar is the CEO of PT MRT Jakarta, the entity charged with the recent delivery and operation of Jakarta’s modern train network. However he is also renowned for his leadership throughout a range of ASEAN’s largest disaster events that have occurred over recent decades. The insights into Dr. Sabandar’s talk were provided this month by the ACE Programme’s own Sridewanto Pinuji.
Dr. Sabandar has been an ASEAN leader for decades, moving from business into the disaster response field, and most recently leading the establishment of the modern and effective MRT system in Jakarta. Dr. Sabandar drew on these array of leadership experiences as he spoke about the key qualities of leadership during an emergency event. Such experiences include the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, leading recovery after 2008’s Cyclone Nargis, and how these skills could be transferred leading the establishment of Jakarta’s MRT.
The key defining aspect of all such work, Dr. Sabandar reminds us that leaders must be on the ground. By doing so, they can talk to affected communities in order to understand and fulfil their needs, and supporting in any way possible from the front. “Leading in a crisis is to maintain certainty and belief, and also ensure no further casualties” he highlighted in the session. Another key lesson Dr. Sabandar has learned from managing various crises is how to develop a strong, supportive mentality for teamwork and togetherness for all members of a team. This is closely followed by building trust that a team will work together to eventually solve the problems and complete their job with quality and good timing.
Dr. Sabandar believes that strong leadership during a crisis can also attract more people to engage and provide support. This, he said, only can be achieved when the leader can maintain integrity and trust. Trust is key in a crisis, as if it diminishes, it can jeopardise the work and efforts that have previously been developed.
“THEREFORE, WHEN SUCCESS CAN BE ACHIEVED, LEADERS SHOULD MAINTAIN THE MOMENTUM AND BUILD ON THIS OUTCOME”
DR. WILLIAM SABANDAR
Dr. Sabandar also believes that not only do disasters engage current leaders, but they can also create new leaders, as everyday individuals are thrust into roles that highlight their internal leadership qualities. People who are on the ground during disaster can often find themselves in situations where they are required to take the lead, and skills such as communication, decision-making, focus and preparedness to change can all come to the fore.
Overall, while Dr. Sabandar has high hopes for the future of disaster management in the ASEAN region, he also highlights a number of key areas requiring more attention as ASEAN continues in its disaster management journey. Firstly, he recognises that preparedness and prevention require more attention through education, particularly for communities to understand disaster risk be empowered to undertake their own prevention and preparedness efforts. This requires attitude shift and extra resourcing, with focus moving away from the historic response-orientated context.
Secondly, Dr. Sabandar believes more attention needs to be afforded to clearer understanding of the nature of the disaster itself, which requires knowledge regarding the science and complexity of a phenomena, to help determine proper action to take. Lastly, when looking at the role of bodies such as ASEAN and the AHA Centre, Dr. Sabandar recognises the important role played by ASEAN in bridging governments and various humanitarian institutions. This role, he said, can significantly enhance the preparation, response and recovery efforts during the aftermath of a disaster. Central to this is the AHA Centre itself, which forms a new and innovative model for managing disaster in the region – a mechanism that can be followed by other regional bodies around the globe.
Written by : Sridewanto Pinuji | Photo : AHA Centre