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ASEAN nations discuss region's vulnerability to natural disasters

Update: November, 29/2013 - 08:05

"The work programme is designed to build the capacity of member states in risk assessment, early warning, monitoring, disaster reduction, response and recovery."— VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam

DA NANG (VNS) — Haiyan, the giant typhoon that killed nearly 10,000 people in the Philippines, has reminded members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) just how vulnerable the region is.

Deputy secretary of the association Alicia dela Rosa Bala told an ASEAN meeting on disasters here yesterday that the organisation would encourage member states to provide more support to alleviate the suffering and restore hope.

Deputy general director of water resources in Viet Nam Nguyen Xuan Dieu said the ASEAN community experienced heavy damage from natural disasters.

He said close co-operation was necessary among member nations to alleviate the situation.

Dieu and Rosa Bala were speaking at the opening ceremony of the second ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER).

"In past decades, the ASEAN community has suffered severe typhoons, storms and floods, which caused heavy losses of people, houses and buildings. Viet Nam alone was hit by 15 storms this year with 46 killed and missing in the central region during the latest flood," Dieu said.

"However, the Philippines was terribly damaged by the super storm and thousands of people are still missing and millions are homeless," he said.

Dieu blamed climate change for the severe typhoons and floods that, he said, "went beyond our forecasts and estimations".

"It's the reason that ASEAN members have to come closer to fight disasters and work out ways of co-operating on disaster management and rescue operations," he added.

Rosa Bala said AADMER was the regional backbone for disaster management.

"To bring it to life, the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) came up with a five-year work prog-ramme, or then known as AADMER Work Programme 2010-15," she said.

"The work programme is designed to build the capacity of member states in risk assessment, early warning, monitoring, disaster reduction, response and recovery."

She claimed the AADMER programme had established an ASEAN coordinating centre for humanitarian assistance on disaster management.

Van Phu Chinh, deputy head of Viet Nam's central department of dyke management and flood prevention based in central Da Nang City, said the conference focused on building priority mechanisms for responding to emergencies. — VNS

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