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
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
MISSION IN RAKHINE, MYANMAR
As part of its ongoing efforts to assist displaced population in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the AHA Centre deployed ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) personnel to Myanmar from the 15th – 31st of January, 2018. Tasked to support the work of the Disaster Management Department of Myanmar, the deployed ERAT team was made up of members from the Philippines and Singapore, alongside one AHA Centre staff.
THIS DEPLOYMENT OF ASEAN-ERAT PERSONNEL HAD THREE PRIMARY OBJECTIVES:
1. Observing the status of ASEAN’s relief items that were previously provided through the AHA Centre;
2. Supporting the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) of Myanmar’s Disaster Management Department with information management, secondary data analysis, and report writing;
3. Undertaking preparations for the next ASEAN-ERAT Induction Course that will be held in Myanmar later in 2018.
Between October 2017 and January 2018, the AHA Centre facilitated the provision of 80 tonnes of relief items, delivered in two batches from the ASEAN regional stockpile in Subang, Malaysia. In December 2017, additional relief items were locally procured by utilising a S$100,000 contribution from the Government of Singapore. Part of this deployment mission included a two-day field observation to Rakhine State, through which the ASEAN-ERAT members confirmed that the distribution of relief items was undertaken as reported by the Disaster Management Department of Myanmar.
The ASEAN-ERAT team also observed the state of temporary shelters, prepared by the Government of Myanmar for displaced communities in Rakhine, as well as those that may return from outside the State. This temporary settlement is equipped with clean water, as well as pre-positioned materials such as clothes, food, and kitchen sets.
In addition to the existing efforts, the Government of Myanmar has developed a stockpile of contingency relief items in Sittwe and Maungdaw, in anticipation of future events, such as flooding, during the approaching monsoon season. Throughout their mission, the ASEAN-ERAT members worked closely with the Director-General and staff of the Disaster Management Department, alongside the Myanmar Red Cross, the General Administration Department in Rakhine, and the Fire Services Departments in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, and Rakhine. They worked together conducting a needs assessment, and developing recommendations to further enhance the ongoing provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected communities in Rakhine State.
“THE AHA CENTRE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE GOVERNMENT OF MYANMAR FOR WELCOMING OUR ASEAN-ERAT MEMBERS TO WORK IN NAY PYI TAW AND RAKHINE STATE. THE MISSION DEMONSTRATES ASEAN’S SOLIDARITY, HELPING ONE ANOTHER IN TIMES OF DIFFICULTY, UNDER THE SPIRIT OF ONE ASEAN ONE RESPONSE,” SAID ADELINA KAMAL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE AHA CENTRE.
Written by : Shintya Kurniawan | Photo : AHA Centre
THIRD ASEAN MEMBER STATES TRAINING ON
DISASTER HEALTH MANAGEMENT, ARCH PROJECT
BANGKOK, THAILAND, 28-31 MAY 2018
Health and medical support forms one of the primary, most important elements for assisting communities facing disaster. The ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH) project, being implemented from 2016 to 2019, forms a cornerstone of the region’s efforts to engage health services with maximal impact in the disaster management field. As part of this project, the AHA Centre engaged in the Third ASEAN Member States (AMS) Training on Disaster Health Management, which took place in Bangkok from the 28th to the 31st of May 2018.
The key focus of this strategic training was to learn about, and develop integrated processes for working with International-Emergency Management Teams (I-EMT), who form a primary source of experience and skill in medical responses to disaster situations. This focus included learning about the processes and effort required in receiving and deploying I-EMTs, understanding I-EMT core requirements before, during and after deployment, as well as understanding the role of the recipient country within coordinating I-EMT deployments.
To set about achieving the workshop’s aims, the AMS training delved into information regarding EMT minimum standards, including the ARCH project’s role in helping achieve such standards, as well as how achieving such standards could be undertaken within the ASEAN context. Much discussion was also afforded to identifying challenges to achieving standards – such as customs compliance, waste management, safety and security, and insurance – and highlighting opportunities to overcome such challenges that would result in more efficient and fluent engagement of I-EMT support at times of disaster.
The training highlighted that these key challenges formed the primary obstacle for better engagement of I-EMT within ASEAN disaster response efforts, and that such obstacles could be overcome at a regional level – with the support of the ARCH project. The ARCH project itself aims to develop Standard Operating Procedures for deployment of EMTs within the region, alongside an EMT database, both of which would serve to support the standardisation and management of I-EMTs operating within the ASEAN context. The training also identified the development of pre-agreements between ASEAN Member States regarding such elements as importing dangerous goods and controlled substances, which would be advantageous within the engagement of I-EMTs during disaster response.
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
H.E. Ursula Mueller
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator
IN EARLY APRIL 2018, THE AHA CENTRE HAD THE HONOUR OF MEETING H.E. URSULA MUELLER, THE UN’S ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS AND DEPUTY EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR, WHO HAS BEEN A STRONG SUPPORTER OF GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN AND DEVELOPMENT AFFAIRS FOR OVER 30 YEARS. MS. MUELLER HAS DEVELOPED AN EXTENSIVE RANGE OF EXPERIENCES IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, THROUGH HER PREVIOUS ROLES AS GERMANY’S CIVIL COORDINATOR IN KOSOVO, GERMANY’S SPECIAL ENVOY TO AFGHANISTAN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL AT GERMANY’S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AND DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF GERMANY’S MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT.
She has also served as a member of the Advisory Board of the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), as well as to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA). Furthermore, her leadership in the role German Executive Director to the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group between 2014 to 2017, resulted in stronger ties between the World Bank and the United Nations (UN).
Having the opportunity to engage with Assistant Secretary-General Mueller during her visit to the home of One ASEAN One Response in Jakarta, the Column’s editorial team gained valuable insights on regional and international cooperation for the provision humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian affairs partnership between ASEAN and the UN has progressed throughout the past 10 years, particularly after the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar during 2008. Ms. Mueller stressed that ASEAN, the UN, and other global humanitarian stakeholders can deliver better results through working together.
During the discussion, Ms. Mueller highlighted the key strength of disaster management in the ASEAN region – namely the presence of a formal mandate, agreed-upon by all Member States. “You have a platform in which ten leaders have signed the Declaration on One ASEAN One Response. It gives you a very strong mandate to be relevant,” she said. “However, delivering on that mandate requires political support, financial support, and resources. Not only financial resources, but also relevant skills and standards that you can develop further through training.”
Ms. Mueller spoke about the importance of balanced partnerships, partnerships that suit the needs and context of both parties. She mentioned that fostering partnerships does not necessarily mean saying “yes” at every opportunity, but that often the real strength of a durable partnership can be knowing when it is appropriate to say “no” while, at the same time working together to find the best solutions to address humanitarian needs.
It is in the context of growing trust and partnership that the AHA Centre continues to work closely with UNOCHA to facilitate induction courses for the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) – as part of the ASEAN-ERAT Transformation Plan – which links closely to the curriculum of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDAC). As the international and regional humanitarian systems continue to develop, the need for coherence and interoperability between the coordination mechanisms managed at these various levels will be essential if we are to fulfil our collective mandate of meeting people’s needs by supporting the lead role played by governments. The priority must be that our respective processes and mechanisms complement, but do not duplicate each other, while assuring the ongoing safeguarding of the universally agreed humanitarian principles.
With regard to collective emergency response and the coordination roles of entities such as the AHA Centre and UNOCHA, ASG Mueller believes that preventative measures are more effective than a purely reactive approach. Thus, investing in early warning systems and preparedness should be considered as a top priority for the ASEAN region. Such investment will enable early action and improved coordinated responses at the regional level and support collective and synergised engagement in broader humanitarian challenges, including climate change, migration, drought, urbanisation, and human-induced disasters that cause displacement and human suffering.
Ms. Mueller is also a member of the International Gender Champions network – a group comprised of male and female leaders who aim to deconstruct gender barriers and establish gender equality through their leadership capacity. “It is important that we have the support of the men who are in positions of power,” she stated. “The Secretary-General of the UN has approved a gender parity strategy, which he is very committed to. Through women’s empowerment measures, we aim to achieve gender parity by 2028, as there is strong evidence that women’s engagement in peace-building and peacekeeping operations can positively impact the achievement of solutions.”
“In my own experience, in order to break the glass ceiling, you have to be professional, true to your values, also make your own contributions known” H.E. Mueller continued. “Your contribution to solving an issue deserves recognition, but you have to also be humble enough to know that it is not about yourself. You may be frustrated, but stay optimistic, realistic, and never give up,” Ms. Mueller stated, while sharing her tips as a leading woman in the humanitarian network.
Written by : Shintya Kurniawan | Photo: AHA Centre, United Nations
BOOK REVIEW OPERATIONALISING
ONE ASEAN ONE RESPONSE
Readers of The Column, and those with general knowledge of disaster management in the ASEAN region, should by now be well acquainted with the One ASEAN One Response vision. This vision forms the blueprint for the current and future state of disaster management in ASEAN, driven by the AHA Centre, and strives to develop timely, appropriate and united responses to disaster across the ASEAN region and abroad. One ASEAN One Response is a broad and complex vision, with such breadth and complexity also reflected within its implementation and realisation. Therefore, in early 2018, the AHA Centre developed a book – Operationalising One ASEAN One Response – to form the framework and guidance for the real steps that must be taken to ensure the implementation and realisation of One ASEAN One Response for all stakeholders throughout the ASEAN disaster management sector.
The book begins by tracking back and compiling the context and history of the One ASEAN One Response vision’s development, including the birth of the idea after Typhoon Haiyan, its conceptualisation and promotion, and other steps in its journey until its formalisation through the Declaration on One ASEAN One Response – signed by all ASEAN Member States in 2016. Throughout the early chapters of the book we also learn more about a range of elements, processes and key stakeholders within the One ASEAN One Response movement, allowing for a strong understanding of the mechanisms and parties central to the vision’s real implementation.
With a sound understanding and picture of the One ASEAN One Response context and history, the book then turns to the all-important operationalisation of the vision, capturing the processes, mechanisms and measurements that guide the realisation of a collective regional response for all members of the ASEAN community. The overall goal of One ASEAN One Response is the umbrella under which the operationalisation takes place – namely to increase speed of disaster response, provide to-scale resources for preparedness and response, and do so in solidarity as a strong, united ASEAN region with the common objective of responding to the needs of those affected by disaster. With such a goal identified, the book then identifies the seven key principles of One ASEAN One Response, which ensure that ASEAN responds through singular mechanisms including:
1. ONE POLICY FRAMEWORK – AADMER
2. ONE SOP – SASOP
3. ONE RESPONSE PLAN – AJDRP
4. ONE POLICY BODY – ACDM
5. ONE POINT OF CONTACT – NDMOs
6. ONE REGIONAL COORDINATING AGENCY – AHA Centre
7. ONE FIELD COORDINATION CENTRE – JOCCA
The book then moves on to providing answers regarding key elements of One ASEAN One Response operationalisation, covering nine specific elements that form the entire cycle of disaster management in the ASEAN region. These elements are made up of:
1. Policy guidance
2. Coordination mechanism
4. Information management
5. Operating procedures
6. Response plan
7. Standby assets and capacities
8. Participating actors
9. Exercises and after-action reviews
Finally, the book concludes with an overall roadmap of One ASEAN One Response implementation, including progress indicators that can be used to measure the implementation stages of the vision. Overall, the implementation has four key phases – namely ASEAN 1.0, ASEAN 2.0, ASEAN 3.0 and ASEAN X.0. As highlighted within this roadmap, at time of printing the One ASEAN One Response has already reached, and is working its way through ASEAN 2.0. As the implementation continues, ASEAN 3.0 should see the region able to successfully engage East Asia Summit participating countries within all aspects of response mobilisation, and further into the future, ASEAN X.0 would see ASEAN capable of engaging in responses outside of the ASEAN region itself.
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre