“ASEAN celebrates ASEAN Day for Disaster Management in conjunction with the International Day for Disaster Reduction

ASEAN and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) will organise joint collaborative activities to commemorate the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management and the International Day for Disaster Reduction on 11 October 2006.  The joint activities will be held at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok. The ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) will contribute to the exhibition on Education for Disaster Risk Management through posters detailing regional and ASEAN Member Countries’ activities in disaster risk management. The ACDM will also participate as a panellist in a panel discussion focusing on the role of education for disaster risk reduction that is being organised by the ISDR Asia Partnership in Bangkok and hosted by UNESCAP.

The ASEAN Ministers responsible for disaster management decided in December 2004 to celebrate the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management in conjunction with the International Day for Disaster Reduction. “Celebrating our ASEAN Day in conjunction with the International Day signifies our commitment that disaster risk reduction is increasingly becoming a major global concern that can only be effectively addressed by coordinated action at the national, regional and global level,” said H.E. Ong Keng Yong, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, in his message on the occasion of the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management 2006. “We shall always endeavour to be prepared and ready to act in times of disaster. All these are meant for ASEAN to achieve its vision of resilient nations and a safer region by the year 2020,” he further added.

Apart from the joint regional celebration in Bangkok, ASEAN Member Countries are also commemorating the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management through various events and activities. Indonesia, for example, has been conducting disaster awareness socialisation to schools, and convened a national disaster awareness week during the period of 18-23 September 2006. Lao PDR has been disseminating messages about the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management and the International Day for Disaster Reduction along the main road of its capital city, Vientiane, and through its national TV, radios and newspapers. Singapore is scheduled to organise an Emergency Preparedness Day on 14 October 2006 and conduct an exercise for grassroots’ volunteers and residents to familiarise them with emergency procedures in case of large-scale emergencies within their neighbourhood. Thailand is conducting public relation campaigns through mass media and disaster management agencies both in government and non-government sectors. Other ASEAN Member Countries will conduct celebratory activities as part of their national disaster management activities.

Thailand as the lead shepherd country for the celebration of the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management is joining forces with the ASEAN Secretariat and UN ISDR Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok to showcase ASEAN’s as well as Member Countries’ initiatives and achievements in disaster risk reduction. Photos, stories and videos showing the recent ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX-06) held on 27 September 2006 in Cambodia will be the centrepiece of ASEAN’s display. The exercise was conducted by the ASEAN Committee for Disaster Management as a prelude to the observance of ASEAN Day for Disaster Management.

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For more information, please contact Adelina Kamal, Environment and Disaster Management, Bureau for Resources Development, ASEAN Secretariat, Tel: + (6221) 7262991 ext. 316, e-mail: lina@aseansec.org, or Ms. Christel Rose, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster  Reduction for Asia & the Pacific (UN/ISDR Asia & Pacific), Tel: +66 (0)2 288 2766, Email: rosec@un.org