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PIA Press Release
2009/10/07

Commentary: ASEAN needs to step up on preparedness, coordination for future disasters

Tacloban City (October 7) -- ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said that there is great need to step up preparation and coordination among the ASEAN member countries to face major disasters which may come more frequently in the future.

The ASEAN Secretary General who was on a visit to the quake-affected areas of West Sumatra province of Indonesia, observed that although not all of ASEAN member countries' troops were present in the province which has been hit by a 7.9 magnitude quake, the presence of some troops showed the solidarity among ASEAN member countries.

There were troops from Singapore and Malaysia who helped in the rescue operations and brought some assistance during the emergency period in Indonesia which killed over 630 people and devastated infrastructure facilities.

The ASEAN Secretary General said that some of the ASEAN member countries are also in emergency situation.

"...you know with the flood in the Philippines, and Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia, so not all of them could be here. But, I think those who have been here have contributed. And the interesting part is that they have involved in various ASEAN agreements and ASEAN mechanisms to come in and to provide the support for the relief," the Secretary General said.

The Secretary General added that the ASEAN also needs to make proper assessment and evaluation on its disaster mechanisms for updating and improvement.

"So I am here partly to visit and for a courtesy visit to the governor and the authorities here and to bring ASEAN solidarity to them and to evaluate our own mechanism and our own responses, how we can improve, how we can coordinate, how we can prepare ourselves better for a more effective response in the future," he said.

The ASEAN Secretary-General was appointed as the ASEAN's Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator by the ASEAN Leaders during the Summit in February 2009. (PIA 8) [top]

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