Over five million people have been affected by Typhoon Bopha that hit Mindanao regions in the Philippines on 3 December 2012. ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) immediately deployed the ASEAN-Emergency Rapid Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) to assess the needs, and to quickly provide necessary aid to the disaster-affected areas.
As of 14 December 2012, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) of the Philippines reported 906 people died, 2,660 injured and 932are still missing. A total of 5,516,181 persons were affected in Regions IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, and CARAGA. A total of 59,764 persons are currently being served in 55 evacuation centers as 60,823 houses totally damaged and 88,925 partially damaged. The NDRRMC estimates the cost of damage to reach 367 million USD.
AHA Centre mobilises aid and resources to the Philippines on the basis of ASEAN solidarity. Anticipating the need for electricity during this emergency period, AHA Centre team has deployed three generators to Boston, New Bataan, and Cagayan de Oro. The delivery of mobile storages and other relief items are also on the way. “We work closely with the NDRRMC to know what they need and we work closely with other ASEAN Member countries to assist in fulfilling their needs”, Said Faisal, the Executive Director of AHA Centre explained.
On 7 December 2012 Malaysia sent its first batch of aid which consists of food, milk, and tents, while Indonesia handed over USD 1 million to the Government of Philippines. Singapore deployed an emergency response team to support the emergency planning and preparation. “These show that humanitarian assistance in ASEAN is now institutionalised, and ASEAN responds as a group”, said Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Alicia dela Rosa Bala explained. However, in view of the level of damage, more assistance will be needed. “We will do our best to facilitate the Government and the community in disaster-affected areas to receive what is needed through our ASEAN family”, Said Faisal added.
With the support from the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), last week AHA Centre launched a Disaster Emergency Logistic System for ASEAN. This system enables the Centre to provide a rapid delivery of relief items in times of disaster emergencies. In this deployment of relief items to Bopha-affected areas, AHA Centre has been working closely with the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Subang, Malaysia as well as World Food Programme (WFP) in the Philippines.
AHA Centre conducts its day-to-day operations in Jakarta. As mandated by the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), the Centre serves as the regional hub for disaster risk monitoring and analysis, and a coordination engine to ensure ASEAN’s fast and collective response to disasters within the region.