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ASEAN nations test emergency response tactics in joint drills

Update: October, 22/2013 - 09:22
A spectacle of a recent dam breach response simulation exercise and evacuation of lowland residents in the northern province of Hoa Binh. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhan Sinh
HA NOI  (VNS)— Ten ASEAN member countries' representatives gathered in Ha Noi yesterday for the ASEAN Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise 2013 (ARDEX-13).

The event was co-oganised by the Government of Viet Nam and the ASEAN Co-ordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA).

The four-day exercise aims to review disaster emergency response mechanisms, including communications, co-ordination and aid facilitation processes under the ASEAN Standby Arrangements and Standard Operating Procedures.

Speaking at the opening ceremony yesterday, Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai highlighted Viet Nam's role as an active member in the ASEAN community and its responsibilities for the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER).

"In the context of unusual and extreme disasters, it requires the co-operation and mutual assistance among countries, primarily in the ASEAN community to respond to major disasters," stressed Hai.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh also spoke of the importance of improving disaster response through routine preparations.

"Regular simulation exercises like AARDEX are 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 AADMER and enhance our collective response to disasters in the region," added Minh.

AARDEX-13 uses a scenario based exercise to prepare and practice disaster response procedures.

Typhoon Neptune was the chosen disaster scenario at this week's review. The super-storm makes landfall in the area of the northern delta provinces of Viet Nam, causing large scale destruction to the dike systems and taking thousands of lives.

The fictional typhoon also affects ten thousand people whose homes collapse or are flooded, putting the population in need of emergency assistance, including aid from ASEAN member States.

This year's AARDEX is the first time the operational capability of the AHA centre will be put through its paces since its establishment in November 2011. — VNS

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