The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), ASEAN Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states are coming together to build disaster resilience throughout the region. The new program is far-reaching and will improve hazard monitoring, early warning, and decision-making tools and data at the local, national, and regional level.
“The work we are doing with PDC builds upon a solid disaster risk reduction foundation we have formed over the last decade to support a region that encompasses 645 million people in one of the most hazard-prone areas in the world,” said Arnel Capili, ASEAN Coordination Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) Deputy Executive Director. PDC met with Capili during the program kick-off to discuss integrated training opportunities including eLearning and the creation of member-focused user groups to guide future needs and system enhancements. “PDC will be building vital capacity, not only with the AHA Centre directly, but within the disaster management organizations of our member states.”
PDC visited several members of the region’s disaster management community—including Viet Nam’s VNDMA, Philippines’ OCD, Indonesia’s BNPB, the AHA Centre as well as the ASEAN Secretariat—to formally initiate a new 18-month USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)-funded program.
The regional program grew out of more than a decade of work with the AHA Centre and with several member states to deploy customized versions of PDC’s DisasterAWARE® platform. Previous work was funded variously by USAID, OFDA, and the United States Trade and Development Agency.
Seeking a way to leverage these successes across the region, PDC and OFDA crafted and initiated a comprehensive program to partner with the AHA Centre and national disaster management organizations (NDMOs) across the region to extend and reinforce the use of existing systems and deploy new systems in the Philippines and Malaysia. The program also seeks to promote information sharing between the regional and national systems.
“We are really excited about this partnership that spans the ASEAN region,” said Chris Chiesa, PDC’s Deputy Executive Director. “It provides a unique opportunity to simultaneously enhance hazard monitoring and early warning capacities within Member States and regionally through use of a common platform, DisasterAWARE.”
The AHA Centre, Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam have customized versions of the DisasterAWARE platform that ties together multi-hazard monitoring with advanced early warning capabilities. The region as a whole is covered by the AHA Centre’s Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS), also powered by DisasterAWARE.
Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and Singapore—who don’t currently have their own customized version of DisasterAWARE—will be receiving more DMRS training and assistance institutionalizing the software within their respective disaster management organizations.
“After recent DMRS training and with newly-integrated regional risk and vulnerability data developed by PDC, our disaster management professionals are able to use the system in more creative ways” said AHA Centre’s Disaster Monitoring and Analysis Officer, Lawrence Dimailig. “This makes the tool not only great for hazard response, but for planning as well.”
These initial meetings mark the official beginning of this program. Additional inception meetings with remaining Member States as well as preliminary technical assessments are also underway. DisasterAWARE upgrades and enhancements, user training, and activities to institutionalize disaster management practices are planned to take place over the next 18 months.