Brunei to host regional disaster response exercise

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI will be hosting the ASEAN Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX) 2016 in October to test ASEAN countries’ response to a disaster.

Speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of ARDEX’s first Exercise Planning Team (EPT) Meeting at the International Convention Centre, the acting director of the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) said the exercise will test the regional standard protocol procedures, mechanism and frameworks to manage disasters.

Abdul Rahim Hj Ismail said the exercise will showcase the capabilities of ASEAN countries through the ASEAN and national Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). He said the exercise will also showcase ASEAN’s logistics.

“ARDEX is important... to show that we are prepared for natural disasters because we know that we can’t stop disasters but what we can do is prepare to be more resilient,” Abdul Rahim said.

“For example, if something happened in Brunei, our friends in ASEAN will support us. We have that arrangement.”

According to Abdul Rahim, the two-day meeting will discuss on the possible scenarios and preparations for the exercise. Throughout the meeting, the delegates will be involved in presentations and site visits.

He said that there will be more follow-up meetings after the EPT to further prepare for ARDEX, and that international delegates will also be involved in the exercise.

He added that United Nations representatives were also present in the meeting.

During the ceremony, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs Hj Mohammad ‘Abdoh Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam said ASEAN is one of the most disaster prone regions in the world.

“The disasters that are hitting our region are getting bigger in scale and the responses are also becoming more complex. Disaster response is no longer a responsibility of one or two actors and it is now a collective responsibility,” he said.

He said the exercise is an opportunity for the countries to test their capacities and capabilities in responding to a worst-case scenario. It is also an opportunity to harmonise Brunei’s SOPs and interoperability.

At the same time, it identifies gaps to ensure better coordination to facilitate the entry of international humanitarian aid.

The permanent secretary said ARDEX will be putting the “One ASEAN One Response” concept to test.

He said the exercise is also an important milestone for the sultanate as it is the first ARDEX to be conducted after the launch of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2016-2020.

Hj Mohammad ‘Abdoh said ARDEX will also allow ASEAN member states – along with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) and other international response communities – to be familiar with Brunei’s response system.

According to NDMC, ARDEX is a large-scale simulation exercise that involves the participation of ASEAN member countries, which has the objective to test, practise, review and evaluate emergency response mechanisms and disaster management in ASEAN.

The Brunei Times