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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   13 November 2013  

ASEAN readies to provide relief to the Philippines; offers assistance to Vietnam

JAKARTA, 12 November 2013 ? The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) together with the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives, ASEAN Defence Attaches, and ASEAN Dialogue Partners today convenes at the AHA Centre to discuss collaborative efforts in response to typhoon Haiyan emergencies in the Philippines and situation in Viet Nam.

"Within this week, ASEAN aims to distribute relief items including generators, mobile storage, and ASEAN Family Kits urgently needed to Tacloban.  We are focusing on the most desperately needed food and clean water. The AHA Centre has stockpile ready to go. Local procurement is also underway. A key impediment is logistics, as the airport was destroyed," stated ASEAN Secretary-General and ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator H.E. Le Luong Minh.  Earlier, Secretary-General Minh has offered assistance to the Government of the Philippines in response to the devastation brought about by Haiyan.

“Knowing the impacts of the typhoon, this is the time for ASEAN to work together in the spirit of ASEAN's solidarity in mobilising assets and resources to provide our support to the government and people of the Philippines in this critical moment,” Said Faisal, the Executive Director of AHA Centre explained. “The meeting today is a follow up of our early response to and assessment activities in the Philippines. After receiving the information from the field and the Government of the Philippines, we are moving forward with providing emergency assistance,” said Faisal.

AHA Centre has been closely monitoring the movement of the typhoon and put a field team on the ground before the typhoon landed on 8 November. Assessment and additional teams have been on the ground to determine the type of assistance that can be mobilised through the ASEAN’s channel.

Meanwhile, after leaving a trail of destruction in the Philippines, typhoon Haiyan hit Viet Nam on 10 November with heavy rains and strong wind and ASEAN is preparing to expand its relief operations to cover both countries. The Secretary-General has written to Vietnamese Foreign Minister H. E. Pham Binh Minh to convey his sympathy to the Vietnamese people and to offer ASEAN’s support.

“We are one community and ASEAN expresses its solidarity with the Vietnamese people in these times of calamity,” ASEAN Secretary-General told the Minister. “ASEAN stands ready to assist Viet Nam if requested, and will continue to work closely with the AHA Centre to facilitate ASEAN’s response to assist Viet Nam in the ongoing response to the disaster,” Secretary-General Minh added.

Typhoon Haiyan made its landfall in Viet Nam on Sunday which prompted the Government to issue public alerts in provinces expected to be hit by the typhoon. Information from the AHA Centre indicated that on Saturday the Government of Viet Nam evacuated over 800,000 people from Thanh Hoa to Phu Yen provinces. The Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control reported two (2) deaths and more than 120 houses damaged in Qung Ninh province. Assessment is still ongoing and the number of casualties and loss will be known later.

"The Government of Viet Nam should be applauded for having successfully protected its people from what could have been a much greater pain.  Over 800,000 citizens have been evacuated," added Secretary-General Minh. "Further, even while facing their own situation, Viet Nam has pledged its support to its fellow ASEAN Member State, the Philippines," he said.

The AHA Centre conducts its day-to-day operations in Jakarta, Indonesia. As mandated by the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response, 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.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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