ASEAN TO TEST REGIONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE CAPACITIES IN A SIMULATED FLOOD DISASTER IN CAMBODIA
 
 

Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The weeklong heavy rainfall on the main country region, west of the capital city, has triggered major flashfloods and worsened the perennial flooding in the provinces along the Mekong River and around the Tonle Sap Great Lake. Cambodia reports more than 800,000 people affected and 200,000 people evacuated to safer areas across the country. Approximately 150 people are reported dead and 65 persons missing.

The four districts of Kandal Province remain under floodwaters.  The districts of Takhmau and Kein Svay along Tonle Basac River are most badly hit with 80,000 people needing immediate relief assistance. The local government has reported 45 drowning victims and 30 missing persons. The impact on housing and property, lifelines such as water, power, communication and transportation, and public infrastructures, is reported as serious.

Cambodia has appealed for international humanitarian assistance through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre). ASEAN Member Countries have mobilised their disaster response assets including search and rescue teams to assist Cambodia. Other countries, local and international organisations have joined in this effort.
 
Such is the simulated flood disaster scenario that will occur in Cambodia on 27 September 2006.

This regional event is the ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise, codenamed ARDEX-06. Emergency response and humanitarian assistance teams fully equipped with response logistics shall be mobilised by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, arriving in Phnom Penh on 26 September 2006. A major search and rescue operation, including evacuation of affected communities, shall be carried out on 27 September 2006.  The disaster response operations will be led by Cambodian authorities with the support of ASEAN under the guidance of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.
 
ARDEX-06 is the second of a series of annual disaster simulation exercise which ASEAN conducts to enhance the capacities and capabilities of Member Countries in joint disaster management operations. The first simulation exercise was held in Selangor, Malaysia last year.
 
This regional disaster simulation exercise is among the capacity enhancement activities of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management guided by the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster and Emergency Response (AADMER) which ASEAN Foreign Ministers signed on 26 July 2005 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
 
The conduct of ARDEX-06 will be preceded by a contingency planning workshop on 24-25 September 2006.  The planning and simulation exercises are an important multilateral initiative which facilitates learning of lessons and generates constructive and practical inputs in preparation for the implementation of the AADMER, in particular the development of the ASEAN Standby Arrangements and Standard Procedures (SASOP) for regional disaster management. Moreover, ARDEX-06 directly benefits the ASEAN Member Countries as national and international mechanisms for disaster and emergency response, including cooperation and collaboration in humanitarian actions, are collectively understood, tested, and enhanced.
 
ASEAN welcomes participation of other countries, local, regional and international organisations and the media in this simulation exercise. Interested parties may obtain further information from the ASEAN Secretariat (Ms. Adelina Kamal), tel. (62-21) 7243372, 7262991, or the National Committee for Disaster Management of the Kingdom of Cambodia (H.E. Peou Samy), tel. (855-23) 211171.
 
ASEAN is comprised of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
 

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6 September 2006
ASEAN Secretariat

For media inquiries please contact: Suchela Phachaiyapoom, Public Affairs Office, the ASEAN Secretariat, Tel + (62-21) 726 2991 ext. 420, e-mail: suchela@aseansec.org or Adelina Kamal, Environment and Disaster Management, Bureau for Resources Development, ASEAN Secretariat, Tel: + (6221) 7262991 ext. 316, e-mail: lina@aseansec.org
 
 

SITE OF ARDEX-06 IN CAMBODIA