THE PHILIPPINE DISASTER RESILIENCE FOUNDATION
The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) is a unique organisation, who forms the major coordinating body for the Philippines’ private sector engagement and support on disaster management. The ASEAN region has become increasingly aware of the importance of private sector engagement in disaster management field, as well as the value that such engagement can foster, with organisations such as the PDRF providing strong examples of the strong, responsive and skilled resources that can support the overall disaster management efforts of this disaster-prone region.
Over recent years, the AHA Centre has turned its focus more heavily to the engagement of the private sector throughout its disaster management work, based on the reasons above, alongside the private sector’s own realisation that disaster is something that impacts them heavily – and that they need to do more to support with ongoing efforts. The PDRF mission and work form a solid match with the AHA Centre, therefore their partnership is mutually beneficial on many levels. The partnership was first formalised in April 2017, with Ms. Adelina Kamal, the (then acting) Executive Director of the AHA Centre, and PDRF President Rene Meily putting pen to paper to formalise this valuable agreement.
The PDRF itself is composed from a team of highly committed professionals who work alongside field experts and reputable humanitarian institutions to organise, coordinate, and solidify the commitment of the private sector within overall disaster management efforts. The PDRF has been a leader in effective reconstruction measures that address the needs of disaster-stricken communities, with their programmes developed for post-disaster recovery in key sectors such as shelter, livelihood, education, environment and water, infrastructure, sanitation, and health. Alongside this, they operate their own state-of-the-art operations and communications centre, engage in community resilience programmes, and support the business sector across a range of elements related to disaster preparedness as well as business resilience in the event of disaster.
Within this context, the AHA Centre PDRF partnership focuses towards supporting and advocating increases in public knowledge and awareness regarding disaster management. Through PDRF’s support of One ASEAN One Response, there will be a range of exchanges and knowledge sharing activites, that will be mutually reliant on each other’s assets and expertise, in order to increase and boost the capacity and capability in responding to disaster. In addition, the partnership will encourage private sector and start-up businesses to be more engaged, and share more ideas for disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction and management, and resilient recovery.
Written by : Valerie Bayhon, William Shea | Photo : PDRF
ONE ASEAN ONE RESPONSE
FOR TYPHOON MANGKHUT
By mid-September it was all-hands-on-deck in the AHA Centre, with the monitoring team tracking the formation of largest storm cell of the year so far, as it made its way across the Pacific Ocean with a population of millions across the Philippines directly in its path. Communities along the nation’s northern coastline and outer islands were being evacuated, as preparation was well underway for the onset of Super Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong). On the 15th of September, Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall in Cagayan Province, continuing its path westward with extreme winds and lashing rain, and leaving in its trail over 2.5 million people affected across the Philippines.
Afterwards, a total of 8 provinces and seven cities/municipalities have been announced under state of emergencies, with widespread damage to homes, infrastructure and livelihoods. Typhoon Mangkhut – that had an actual diameter larger than 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan – claimed over 50 lives, with hundreds more injured, and over 180,000 homes either fully or partially damaged. Total damage has been estimated at over USD 6 million, with communities particularly affected by secondary hazards that accompanied the typhoon, such as flooding and landslides. However, was it not for the coordinated effort in the days prior to the storm by the various national and sub-national agencies, alongside communities themselves, loss of life and damage could have been far worse.
“We pre-positioned the Cagayan Valley Response Team in advance, with early evacuation taking place two days prior to the typhoon’s landfall. We also estimated the numbers of people likely to be affected, and provided hygiene kits, non-food items, and generators. These preparedness measures managed to minimise casualties in our region”, explained Mr. Dante Balao, the Regional Director of Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Office II, in Tuguegarao, Cagayan.
Alongside tracking the progress of Typhoon Mangkhut in the weeks and days leading-up to the disaster, the AHA Centre was also engaged with the Philippines Government, through the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), in both the preparation and response to the storm. At a later stage, the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) was mobilised to provide information management and assessment report as the emergency phase coming to an end. On the 15th of September, just hours after the typhoon made landfall, the AHA Centre In-Country Liaison Team arrived in the Philippines, to establish direct communication with the NDRRMC in Manila and in affected areas, and to facilitate ASEAN’s assistance to those in need.
In response to the disaster, the AHA Centre mobilised relief items valued at over USD 275,000 to communities across the affected regions, including 30 tonnes of rice, four generator sets, and 2,000 rolls of tarpaulins. During the handover ceremony on September 24th, Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad, the Executive Director of NDRRMC and the Administrator of the Philippines’ Office of Civil Defense showed his appreciation for ASEAN’s support when he stated “I would like to thank and express my deep gratitude to the AHA Centre for facilitating this assistance”.
While Typhoon Mangkhut was a disastrous event for the Philippines and the ASEAN region, it presented an opportunity for the AHA Centre and ASEAN-ERAT to engage on a new element as part of the region’s ongoing efforts to improve disaster management practices. Three ASEAN-ERAT information management specialists were deployed to support the NDRRMC office with data analysis, data visualisation and report writing. One of the ASEAN-ERAT Level 2 members deployed to the Philippines, Adiratna Wira from Malaysia, recognised the importance of information management support for response agencies during disasters. “Aside from the actual products developed, there was great benefit for both the NDRRMC and ASEAN-ERAT members”, said Adiratna. “There was increased understanding in the roles and ways of working for each party, which could speed-up a range of processes and information distribution in the future.”
On the last day of the ASEAN-ERAT’s deployment, Mr. Edgar Posadas, the Director of Operations Service and Spokesperson of the NDRRMC emphasised, “we know that our region is always at risk of disasters, but with neighbours like you and friends like you, we know that things will be moving forward. We are thankful to our ASEAN neighbours and the AHA Centre for your help. The ASEAN region is advancing, we don’t have to go beyond our borders (to respond to disasters), so those beyond the ASEAN corridors can attend to their own disasters. I think it’s a way to go now, everybody is trying to be self-sufficient. We have to be ready should simultaneous disasters are taking place. So, the more capacity that we have and the more prepared we are, the better it will be for the people”.
Written by: Shintya Kurniawan | Photo : AHA Centre
PROJECT STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES, 24TH AUGUST 2018
Entering its second phase of implementation, the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Phase II project continues to contribute to the implementation of One ASEAN One Response, specifically in the area of stockpile deployment to disaster-affected countries. As the leading mechanism in the Phase II project, the DELSA Phase II Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting was held on the 24th of August in the OCD-NDRRMC Office, Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippines.
As reported in the meeting, during 2018 the DELSA Phase II project has contributed to stockpile deployment and local procurement in response to the floods in Lao PDR, floods in Myanmar, and the earthquakes in Indonesia, providing relief items to a total value of USD 426,867. The remaining ASEAN stockpile, which is stored in the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Subang, Malaysia, consists of 45 types of relief items amounting to the total value of USD 1,777,460.
This meeting also formed an opportunity for the DELSA Project Management Team to report the progress of the establishment of the satellite warehouses in the Philippines and Thailand. The satellite warehouse in the Philippines utilises a building owned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo, which after some renovations, will be ready to house the satellite warehouse.
Meanwhile, the satellite warehouse in Thailand is planned to be fully operationalised by the first quarter of 2019, with a scheduled official launching during the ASEAN Summit in April 2019, coinciding with the induction of the Thailand Chairmanship of ASEAN.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of the satellite warehouse in the Philippines was also signed during the meeting by Ms. Adelina Kamal, Executive Director of the AHA Centre, and Under Secretary Ricardo B. Jalad, Executive Director of NDRRMC and Administrator of the OCD Philippines. This MoU marks the strengthening of cooperation and commitment between the AHA Centre and OCD Philippines to support the readiness of ASEAN in responding to disasters. The meeting also resulted in other significant guidance and decisions on key resources, criteria and partnerships to support the network of the DELSA warehouses. A key study on stockpile identification was agreed, with results to act as a baseline that will serve as a reference for minimum types and quantity of stockpiles to be stored across all three DELSA warehouses, as well as specific stockpiles unique to each warehouse.
The DELSA Phase II PSC Meeting was attended by the AHA Centre, ASEAN Secretariat, representatives from Singapore and Malaysia as the Co-Chairs of the ACDM Working Group on Preparedness and Response, representatives from the Mission of Japan to ASEAN and Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) Management Team as the donor, and representatives from the Philippines and Thailand as the host countries of satellite warehouses.
Written by : Caroline Widagdo | Photo : AHA Centre
MONTHLY DISASTER REVIEW AND OUTLOOK
JULY & AUGUST | DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS
(DMA) UNIT, AHA CENTRE
GENERAL OVERVIEW OF JULY AND AUGUST 2018
A two-week period in July saw the development of 5 tropical storms, one of which had a severe affect on the northern ASEAN region. The Southwest monsoon (refer to figure 1.) brought with it heavy torrential rains, resulting in flooding through the Mekong River region. Hydro-meteorological disasters formed the main hazards during this period, and are expected to persist with continued rain over the northern ASEAN region, coupled with drier conditions in southern part of ASEAN.
In contrast to the situation in the northern ASEAN region, droughts in 16 municipalities have been reported across seven consecutive weeks thus far, with one reported wildfire occurrence in the past month. The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre detected hotspots in Indonesia’s Kalimantan and Sumatra during July. General conditions for August remained similar to July, with high rainfall experienced over the northern region, impacting countries in the Mekong region and northern parts of the Philippines.
Throughout the last 2 months, large numbers of earthquakes were recorded and experienced by ASEAN communities. The increased seismic activity is not only restricted to the region,with the phenomenon also seen globally. A total of 232 earthquakes were recorded internationally between the 20th and 26th of August along the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and its adjacent tectonic plates. Of these recorded earthquakes, 37 (15.9%) were recorded at a scale of M 5.0 or above, with 25 (67.6%) of these major earthquakes (≥M 5.0) occurring within a span of 48 hours between August 20th to 22nd. Of these 232 earthquakes, 32 (13.8%) were reported within the ASEAN region. Of the 32 recorded in the region, 11 (34.4%) were reported to be M 5.0 and above. The increasing seismic activity is currently being observed by seismological agencies in anticipation of increased volcanic activity, earthquakes, tsunamis and other related hazards. Nevertheless, in July and August 2018, activity of volcanoes in Philippines and Indonesia stayed within their normal threshold, with no changes in any of their alert levels
The prevailing Southwest Monsoon season is expected to persist until October 2018, with prevailing winds in the region blowing from the southeast or southwest. Climatologically, the Southwest Monsoon season is characterised by rainy conditions in the northern ASEAN region, and dry conditions in the southern ASEAN region.
OUTLOOK FOR AUGUST-OCTOBER 2018
Warmer than average conditions can be expected over the equatorial ASEAN region, especially in Borneo and south-eastern Sumatra, while near-average or slightly above-average temperatures are forecasted over most other areas during the August-October season.
For the equatorial ASEAN region, below-average rainfall is forecasted between August and October. The drier-than-usual weather could to lead to an escalation in hotspot activities and an increased risk of transboundary smoke haze.
Near-average rainfall is forecasted for the rest of the region, including the northern ASEAN region. Hotspot activities in the northern ASEAN region are likely to remain subdued due to wet weather. The outlook is assessed for the region in general. For specific updates on the national scale, the relevant National Meteorological and Hydrological Services as well as Geological Services should be consulted.
Written by : Mizan Bisri, Qing Yuan Pang
AHA Centre’s estimation is based on data and information shared by National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) and other relevant agencies from ASEAN Member States, international organisations and news agencies. Further information on each recorded-significant disaster, description and details of data and information are available at: http://adinet.ahacentre.org/reports.
ONE ASEAN ONE RESPONSE
During August 2018 the AHA Centre once again evidenced ASEAN’s solidarity for disaster-affected population in the Southeast Asian region, this time supporting communities in the well-known tourist destination of Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The area was recently the epicentre of multiple earthquakes, with the initial major quake recorded at M 6.4 on Sunday the 29th of July. A week later, on the 5th of August, a larger M 7 earthquake hit the already-affected area, increasing numbers of casualties and causing greater damaged to buildings and livelihoods within the Lombok region. The main shock also triggered a tsunami warning, which thankfully did not result in an actual tsunami event. However, throughout the month of August, over 1000 aftershocks were recorded by the Meteorological, Climatology, and Geological Agency of Indonesia (BMKG), with the region still remaining vulnerable to quakes during the ongoing recovery phase.
Following the main earthquake on the 5th of August 2018, the AHA Centre intensified its cooperation with Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB), which had been ongoing since the initial quake in late July. Upon receiving notification of the second earthquake, the AHA Centre immediately deployed a staff member to the field, provided information management and translation support for BNPB, as well as facilitated the deployment of an ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) to the affected region. A little later, the AHA Centre obtained a green-light to mobilise relief items from the ASEAN emergency stockpile in Subang, Malaysia. These relief items – worth approximately USD $154,438 – were picked-up by the BNPB using a chartered flight, arriving in Praya Airport, Lombok, in three batches between early to mid-August.
For Lombok, earthquake events are not particularly new, with notable earthquakes recorded in the region from as early as the year 1856. Consolidated data from the United States Geological Survey and the Indonesian Meteorological and Climatology Agency (BMKG) also noted that major earthquakes above M 6 occurred on the island in 1970, 1972, 1978, 1979, and 2000. Based on the latest National Disaster Risk Index – published by BNPB in 2016 – Lombok is categorised as a medium to high-scale earthquake-prone area. Considering these vulnerabilities and risks, the resettlement areas currently underconstruction will use similar earthquake-resistant technology that has been adopted through the post-earthquake recovery periods in Aceh and Nias, Sumatera, Indonesia.
“Indonesia is part of the ASEAN community, and the BNPB has been working closely with the ASEAN coordinating agency for disaster management, or AHA Centre. All Heads of State and Government of ASEAN countries have agreed to stand as one, whenever natural disasters happen in neighbouring states. Based on the One ASEAN One Response Declaration, Indonesia trusts the AHA Centre to provide additional logistical support that is required for the emergency response. For example, this Mobile Storage Unit we stand in that can serve as a portable warehouse, and family tents that can provide shelters for the displaced communities”, said H.E Willem Rampangilei, the Chief of BNPB, in between the emergency responses in Lombok.
On a similar note, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, Ms. Adelina Kamal, stated that “the ASEAN relief items belong to all ASEAN countries, including Indonesia. When a disaster occurs and relief items are required, ASEAN Member State can access the regional stockpile, and the AHA Centre will facilitate its mobilisation to the affected areas. We would like to show our appreciation to the BNPB for the confidence given to the AHA Centre in complementing the government’s life-saving efforts on the ground. Our partnership strengthens the vision embodied in the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response”.
All ten ASEAN Member States have recognised the AHA Centre as the primary regional disaster management coordinating agency in ASEAN. Indonesia has been actively involved in the establishment of the AHA Centre, and has been hosting the AHA Centre since it first opened in November 2011. The mission to Lombok is the AHA Centre’s fifth response this year, bringing the total responses to 23 emergencies in 7 ASEAN countries since the AHA Centre’s establishment.
Written by: Shintya Kurniawan | Photo : AHA Centre
AHA CENTRE WELCOMES
THE NEW ASEAN SECRETARY-GENERAL
2 FEBRUARY 2018
Within a month of his appointment as the new Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi visited the home of One ASEAN, One Response – the AHA Centre. Together with Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, and other ASEAN Secretariat delegates, Dato Lim Jock Hoi undertook a tour of the AHA Centre’s office in East Jakarta. During this visit, the Executive Director and staff of the AHA Centre shared updates regarding the activities of the organisation, as well as the updated status of the standby relief items in ASEAN’s warehouse.
The Secretary-General was highly supportive of the AHA Centre, and stated his aspiration to enhance multilateral and cross-sectoral cooperation for disaster management in the region. H.E. Lim Jock Hoi further commended the work of the AHA Centre and recommended that the AHA Centre continue to share information about its work and activities, coordinating disaster management across ASEAN. Alongside this, he also committed to support the AHA Centre in its resource mobilisation efforts.
Before his departure, the AHA Centre presented Dato Paduka Lim Jock hoi with an ASEAN vest embroidered with his Excellency’s name. The AHA Centre fully supports the leadership of Dato Lim Jock Hoi as the 14th Secretary-General of ASEAN as well as the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator, and looks forward to further collaboration during his tenure throughout the next five years.
Written by : Shintya Kurniawan | Photo : AHA Centre
Dr. Puji Pujiono, the Founder and Senior Adviser of the Pujiono Centre and now a businessman, is one of the ASEAN region’s most respected and renowned disaster management experts. His reputation in the humanitarian and disaster management fields is acclaimed across regions from his works with numerous United Nations agencies, the ASEAN Secretariat, and organisations such as the Indonesian Red Cross to name just a few. A social worker by training and profession, Dr. Pujiono was naturally drawn into the disaster risk management sector through his firm belief and passion in humankind’s resilience to overcome adversities and great challenges.
It was Dr. Pujiono’s work with the UN Refugee Agency in the early 2000’s that introduced him to the ASEAN structure. “It was at the conclusion of the first emergency preparedness training in Indonesia that I saw potential to sow the seed for regional cooperation in disaster management” he says. In one of the then-obscure provisions in the 1976 ASEAN Declaration on Mutual Assistance on Natural Disasters, he found content regarding Member States’ commitment to assist other Member States that are in distress. Dr. Pujiono tells us that during a session of the ASEAN Experts Group Meeting on Disaster Management, he put forward three hard-to-resist proposals. “The resources to meet every six months instead of every two years, my own expertise to support the group, and my own professional networking to connect ASEAN with the rest of the world of disaster management….and they jumped at it”, he recalls.
Within the 18 months following that meeting, the infrastructure for ASEAN regional cooperation was instituted, that included the first ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management, a full-fledged ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), ASEAN Regional Programme on Disaster Management (ARPDM), and a draft regional agreement. The pivotal Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004 and the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Hyogo, Japan, in early 2005 presented the unprecedented momentum to accelerate the draft into what is now known as the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). The Agreement sparked the idea to establish the AHA Centre, and since then has seen ASEAN develop to be among the leaders of disaster risk management actors across the world.
While reminiscing about his roles in the formative years of ASEAN’s tremendous progress in disaster management, Dr. Pujiono’s greatest passion is for future efforts and opportunities. Now that disaster management has become commonplace among ASEAN governments and communities, as they move towards attaining ASEAN integration, the challenge is how to turn such high-level regional political engagement into real national and agency-level From his past work as the Head of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) based in Kobe, Japan, with UNDP Headquarters in Geneva, as well as in the field and in other roles, Dr. Pujiono has witnessed the value that the AHA Centre has in developing and integrating real commitments from parties within and external to ASEAN.
“The AHA Centre provides plenty of opportunity for all parties to share and pool resources, strengths and capacities, with the ultimate goal of making ASEAN a stronger region” he says.
Alongside his new foray into the business world, Dr. Pujiono has also led the transformation of the Pujiono Centre into a regional disaster knowledge platform, while also providing technical assistance to the revision of the disaster management legislation in the Indonesian Parliament, and engaging as a businessman in the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network Task Force on Disaster and Climate Risk Reduction.
From these new vantage points, he recognises that the value of the AHA Centre as the key coordinating body of disaster management in ASEAN is not only focusing on coordinating the disaster response parties. He stands ready to help the Centre rally the wider range of stakeholders to engage across the wider spectrum of disaster management as mandated by the AADMER. This would uniquely positon the AHA Centre as the nexus of ASEAN integration in term of strengthening resilience for sustainable development; that is from risk prevention, risk reduction, response, to recovery. Dr. Pujiono also looks forward to AHA Centre’s increased engagement on a global scale.
“I see AHA Centre solidifying its unique characteristics to be truly ASEAN; a champion that is distinct from the UN, distinct from its international partners, and to be one of the world’s leaders in disaster management”.
Written by : Christella Feni, William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre, Personal archive.
INTERNATIONAL SEARCH AND RESCUE ADVISORY
GROUP (INSARAG) TRAINING EXERCISE
CLARK FREE PORT, PAMPANGA,THE PHILIPPINES, 26-29 JUNE 2018
Testing, refining and streamlining the AHA Centre’s disaster coordination mechanisms is integral to ensuring ease of implementation in disaster responses. This year’s International Search and Rescue Advisory Group’s (INSARAG) exercise, held in Clark Free Port from the 26th to the 29th of July allowed the AHA Centre to further optimise coordination processes and ensure they are streamlined with local and international processes alike, creating an efficient and united environment when responding to disasters in the region.
At this year’s exercise, the AHA Centre was represented by a number of staff, alongside 7 ASEAN-ERAT team members. Alongside engaging in all activities throughout the exercise, the AHA Centre also worked with UN-OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UN-OCHA ROAP) to deliver a first-day training session on the inter-operability of ASEAN-ERAT and United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), based on specific insight gained through the recent National Contingency Planning for a Metro Manila 7.2M Earthquake scenario. In the days following, further work and clarity was developed between the various parties, including roles and responsibilities of joint operations between ASEAN-ERAT and UNDAC, Reception Departure Centre (RDC) development and coordination mechanisms, as well as liaison roles for external parties present within the Joint Operations and Coordinaton Centre of ASEAN (JOCCA). A total of 220 individuals from 27 countries, alongside 286 local parties participated in the exercise.
Many positives were highlighted from the 2018 INSARAG exercise, particularly related to the fact that the exercise was based on the National Contingency Planning scenario recently developed with the Philippines. Due to the recent implementation of a Philippine International Humanitarian Assistance Guideline (PIHAG), as a basis for offers/requests for international assistance by the Government of the Philippines, all stakeholders were able to test and familiarise themselves with the implementation and operation of this new guideline. The 2018 INSARAG training served to continue momentum under which regional and international actors are harmonising systems and mechanisms that will avoid duplication and increase understanding for all stakeholders related to national response plans of ASEAN nations.
As summed up by ASEAN-ERAT member Mark July Yap (the Philippines), “the INSARAG 2018 exercise gave me a broader insight in disaster management, not only regionally but from an international perspective. It enabled me to understand and put into practice the existing disaster response mechanisms, and was a great avenue to test and strengthen inter-operability of these mechanisms, as well as identify and address gaps.”
Written by : Grace Endina | Photo : AHA Centre
THIRD ASEAN MEMBER STATES TRAINING ON
DISASTER HEALTH MANAGEMENT, ARCH PROJECT
BANGKOK, THAILAND, 28-31 MAY 2018
Health and medical support forms one of the primary, most important elements for assisting communities facing disaster. The ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH) project, being implemented from 2016 to 2019, forms a cornerstone of the region’s efforts to engage health services with maximal impact in the disaster management field. As part of this project, the AHA Centre engaged in the Third ASEAN Member States (AMS) Training on Disaster Health Management, which took place in Bangkok from the 28th to the 31st of May 2018.
The key focus of this strategic training was to learn about, and develop integrated processes for working with International-Emergency Management Teams (I-EMT), who form a primary source of experience and skill in medical responses to disaster situations. This focus included learning about the processes and effort required in receiving and deploying I-EMTs, understanding I-EMT core requirements before, during and after deployment, as well as understanding the role of the recipient country within coordinating I-EMT deployments.
To set about achieving the workshop’s aims, the AMS training delved into information regarding EMT minimum standards, including the ARCH project’s role in helping achieve such standards, as well as how achieving such standards could be undertaken within the ASEAN context. Much discussion was also afforded to identifying challenges to achieving standards – such as customs compliance, waste management, safety and security, and insurance – and highlighting opportunities to overcome such challenges that would result in more efficient and fluent engagement of I-EMT support at times of disaster.
The training highlighted that these key challenges formed the primary obstacle for better engagement of I-EMT within ASEAN disaster response efforts, and that such obstacles could be overcome at a regional level – with the support of the ARCH project. The ARCH project itself aims to develop Standard Operating Procedures for deployment of EMTs within the region, alongside an EMT database, both of which would serve to support the standardisation and management of I-EMTs operating within the ASEAN context. The training also identified the development of pre-agreements between ASEAN Member States regarding such elements as importing dangerous goods and controlled substances, which would be advantageous within the engagement of I-EMTs during disaster response.
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
Mapping is perhaps one of the first things that springs to mind when we think of disaster preparedness and response. It forms an integral element of determining affected areas, infrastructure and terrain, as well as access for supplies both in preparedness planning and when disaster strikes. MapAction has been supporting the emergency management sector with professional mapping services, sending teams to respond to around 80 disasters across the world, and impacting the lives of tens of millions since its establishment in 2002. Based on such experience, and the importance of mapping within the disaster management context, the AHA Centre and MapAction recently formalised their working partnership through the signing of a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) during the 8th Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 27 June 2018.
Although the ink is still drying on the formal partnership between the AHA Centre and MapAction, the two institutions have already forged a strong working relationship throughout recent years, primarily engaging through the AHA Centre-led ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) training programme. MapAction has provided valuable support to participants in the ASEAN-ERAT workshops, with hands-on training using state-of-the-art mapping applications that support the work of ASEAN-ERAT during disaster response. Training on the use of these applications has allowed ASEAN-ERAT members to engage in data visualisation and communication of the impacts of disasters during deployments on the frontline, and such working efforts paved the way for the development of the AHA Centre and MapAction’s formal partnership.
This recently signed MoI will ensure that a range of activities will be undertaken with a focus to mutually-beneficial outcomes for both the AHA Centre and MapAction. Under the MoI, MapAction will engage their skills and experience to support the development and implementation of emergency management in the region by providing GIS-based mapping support for ASEAN-ERAT deployments to regional and international emergency response operations, as well as providing GIS-based remote mapping material support for the AHA Centre upon request. Accordingly, the AHA Centre will support MapAction’s work by facilitating access to disaster-affected areas, including obtaining visas and customs clearance for MapAction’s equipment, and also identifying and facilitating potential collaboration opportunities between ASEAN Member States and MapAction to enhance information management and the use of GIS in emergency preparedness and response efforts.
The two parties will also embark on a range of shared projects, with the aim to strengthen the long-term sustainability and development of disaster management capacity in the ASEAN region. Such efforts will include a jointly-developed training curriculum for an ASEAN-ERAT specialised course on GIS mapping and technology, alongside practising joint deployment within the ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX) and ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise (ARF DiREx) implementations. Such mutually-beneficial partnerships form a key element of the AHA Centre’s partnership strategy, as summed up by the AHA Centre’s Executive Director Ms. Adelina Kamal,
“The knowledge and practical skills shared by MapAction through joint training and exercises will allow the AHA Centre and our ASEAN-ERAT members to better assist the disaster-affected country and enhance coordination with other humanitarian actors in line with the spirit of One ASEAN One Response.”
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre, MapAction