HANOI, 21 October 2013 – The ASEAN Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise 2013 (ARDEX-13) kicks off today, 21 October 2013 in Hanoi, Viet Nam. All ten ASEAN Member States participate in this four-day event, which aims to practice, assess and review disaster emergency response mechanisms under the ASEAN Standby Arrangements and Standard Operating Procedures (SASOP). Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, H.E. Hoang Trung Hai officially opens the exercise, which is co-organised by the Government of Viet Nam and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre). Beside participating representatives from ASEAN Member States and ASEAN Secretariat, observers from China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Nations, civil society organisations, and other international organisations also attend the event.

Regular simulation exercises like ARDEX is important to assess if our disaster response mechanisms are effective, and if further improvements need to be made. I hope that ARDEX-13 will generate constructive and practical inputs for the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), and enhance our collective response to disasters in the region”, said H.E. Le Luong Minh, the Secretary-General of ASEAN during the opening ceremony of ARDEX-13.

As the host of ARDEX-13, the Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, H.E. Hoang Trung Hai stated that he was pleased to see that at the regional level, disaster management is high priority for ASEAN countries, as well as cooperation among ASEAN and its partners. Further, he remarked the importance of cooperation in disaster management saying “in the context of unusual and extreme disaster, it requires the cooperation and mutual assistance among countries, primarily in the ASEAN community to respond to major disasters.” H.E. Hoang Trung Hai also stated Viet Nam’s role has shown that Viet Nam is an active member in ASEAN community and responsible for the implementation of AADMER.

ARDEX-13 uses the scenario of Super Typhoon ‘Neptune’, which makes a landfall in the area of Northern Delta Provinces of Viet Nam and causes a large scale of inundation impacting dike systems and takes thousands of lives. The typhoon also affects ten thousand people whose homes are collapsed and flooded, putting them in need of emergency assistance. AHA Centre exercises the communication, coordination and aid facilitation processes, as the Member States are offering their assistance to Viet Nam.

This year’s ARDEX is the first time to test the operational capability of the AHA Centre since its establishment in November 2011. ASEAN Member States, AHA Centre and ASEAN Secretariat have successfully tested the exchange of information during the ARDEX-13 communications exercise on 17 October 2013.

Following the communications exercise in Hanoi from 20 until 22 October, ASEAN countries will exercise the customs, immigrations, and quarantine mechanisms, and participate in workshops to discuss Viet Nam’s disaster management system, the implementation of AADMER, and the operationalisation of AHA Centre. AHA Centre will also conduct a refresher course for the ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team as part of ARDEX-13. To test the implementation of joint disaster emergency response procedures, Member States will participate in a field simulation exercise that will be held on 23 October 2013 in Ba Vi. Finally, on 24 October 2013, all participants will evaluate the implementation of procedures and mechanisms during the exercise. The lessons in organisation, direction, and coordination during ARDEX-13 will be compiled to further improve SASOP and actual joint response to disasters.

Click Here to Read SG’s Opening Remarks

Link to Photos