Friday, October 14, 2011

ASEAN shows solidarity in face of catastrophe

October 15, 2011

JAKARTA (Xinhua) - ASEAN member countries are making efforts to provide relief aids to flood-affected countries in the region.

ASEAN ministers have met and communicated to determine what kind of assistance to be channeled to the victims of the floods in the region, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Friday.

Floods have hit Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines since months ago, killing more than 500 people and damaging houses and infrastructures facilities.

"As the chairman of ASEAN, Indonesia has taken an initiative step. Our foreign minister has met with foreign ministers from ASEAN countries to formulate a collective step to help our friendly countries in settling the impact of the disaster," said Yudhoyono.

The member countries of ASEAN expressed their deep sympathy and condolence to the governments and peoples of Southeast Asian countries for the loss of lives and environmental assets caused by floods from heavy incessant rains, said a statement from the government of Indonesia.

"They believe that the governments and peoples of the affected countries will rise from this disaster with strong spirit and resilience to resume normal life and to rebuild their communities, " it said.

In this regard, the ASEAN member states also expressed their readiness to lend the affected countries support and assistance in a timely manner and in appropriate ways in accordance with the spirit of ASEAN solidarity, it said.

ASEAN member countries had also showed their solidarity during the tsunami in December 2004, which killed more than 230,000 people and damaged massive infrastructure facilities.

Many of ASEAN countries, particularly those lying along the Indian Ocean, had got relief aids after the tsunami, such as medical and logistic assistance, from ASEAN member countries.

Similarly with Indonesia, over 170,000 people were killed in the northern tip of Sumatra island of Aceh province. Foreign aids flew into the tsunami-hit area. Similar assistance were also received years later when other strong quakes and tsunamis hit other parts of Indonesia.

"Of course Indonesia is going to give aids to the neighboring countries, similar with the assistance given by them when Indonesia was hit by catastrophes (in the past)," said Yudhoyono.

Going forward, to help reduce the suffering of the victims of disasters, a regional disaster management training and logistics center is going to be built in West Sumatra of Indonesia in December while a full-scale tsunami warning system installed after the tsunami in December 2004 was tested on Wednesday, officials said.

The center will train regional disaster response managers and provide emergency supplies to enable quick disaster response.

Many of ASEAN member countries are prone to floods and earthquake as they are on a vulnerable quake-hit area called "the Pacific Ring of Fire."


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