On its first anniversary, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) officially launched a Disaster Emergency Logistic System for ASEAN. The event was held today (07/12/2012) at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base in Subang, Malaysia. As establishment of the Disaster Emergency Logistic System is supported by the Government of Japan through Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund, the symbolic handover of ASEAN Family Kit from Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane officially marked the launch of the System.

After its establishment on 17 November 2011, the Jakarta-based AHA Centre has been functioning conducting disaster risk monitoring on daily basis, generating and sharing information to the National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) in ASEAN member states. Soon after disaster strikes, AHA Centre deploys its team to conduct rapid assessment, and to deliver aid to affected ASEAN member countries.

The theme for this launching is “Building a well prepared Southeast Asian Region: Present and Beyond’.  This indicates an ongoing process for improving disaster management in the region. Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community, Her Excellency Alicia Dela Rosa Bala stated, “The fact that we now have an operational AHA Centre, which is ready to complement the efforts of governments and lead in a regionally-coordinated disaster response if such an action is requested and becomes necessary, is quite remarkable. It is a testament to the commitment of ASEAN Leaders to realising the vision of a disaster-resilient community.”

The existence of the Disaster Emergency Logistic System for ASEAN completes AHA’s roles. “The Disaster Emergency Logistic System is developed to ensure a quick availability of emergency relief items that can be accessed by Member States following medium to large-scale disasters”, Mr. Said Faisal, the Executive Director of AHA Centre explained. “The idea of having an organization that does regional disaster monitoring, risk and situational analysis, and aid dissemination is no longer a concept. We are now operational.” Mr. Faisal further described that the relief items prepared are tailored and adjusted to the culture of ASEAN. it is not only the amount of aid that matters. “AHA Centre is not only a response agency. As we envision the idea of ASEAN solidarity and ASEAN as a caring society, the Centre represents a big, caring family that will be there to help when other family members need supports”.

Explaining why Malaysia serves as the humanitarian logistic hub, Deputy Foreign Minister, Senator Mr. A. Kohilan Pillay described Malaysia’s strategic location at the heart of Southeast Asia and its relatively insulated position, whereby it is from spared major disasters like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. “This gives Malaysia the advantage to be the preferred candidate for locating the humanitarian logistic hub.

In the launching event, the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) and the ASEAN Early Rapid Assessment Team (ERAT) demonstrated the preparation of the relief items that would be sent to the Philippines to assist in post-Typhoon Bopha/Pablo operations in Mindanao. The aid was sent this afternoon. Previously on 5 December 2012, AHA Centre and ASEAN ERAT, with the joint National Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) were deployed in Mindanao area to conduct Rapid Needs Assessment. This mission to the Philippines is AHA Centre’s second mission. Even before its launching, the Centre has delivered the aid to Myanmar to respond to post 6.8-magnitude earthquake in November.

The development of this Project is supported by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund. Representing the Government of Japan, Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to ASEAN ensured that the Government of Japan is committed to support the development of a more improved disaster management in ASEAN.

Contact Person:
For further inquiries/information on this event, please contact;
Asri Wijayanti
AHA Centre Communications Officer
Email    : asri.wijayanti@ahacentre.org
Phone    : +60 111 7979 560 (Malaysia No.) / +62 813 6069 1323 (Indonesia No.)
www.ahacentre.org