MANILA -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said the regional bloc's mechanism to send humanitarian and relief assistance to member states will be operational, particularly after the typhoons that hit the Philippines recently.
In a statement on Thursday, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi said the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) has reaffirmed its commitment to ensure the safety and well-being of the people during "times of suffering", saying the bloc's support is stamped in the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response.
"We will continue to monitor the situation, avail ourselves the opportunity to support the ongoing humanitarian and disaster-relief efforts, and help expedite the recovery work undertaken by the Government of the Philippines," he said.
According to Lim, the vulnerability of the ASEAN region is once again aggravated by "Vinta's" landfall in Mindanao last month.
"In my capacity as the Secretary General of ASEAN, I wish to convey our heartfelt sympathy for the loss of lives, the displacement of families and the severe damages to agriculture as well as infrastructure experienced by the affected communities in the Philippines," he added.
For his part, Lim commended the government's disaster preparedness strategy, immediate response efforts, as well as prompt humanitarian assistance and evacuation measures to assist people in affected areas.
"The landfall of tropical storm ("Vinta") is one of many reminders of how development in the region remains susceptible to unprecedented risks," he said.
He urged all ASEAN member states "to enhance the resilience" of their respective communities through disaster risk reduction interventions, climate change adaptation strategies, as well as conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources.
Landslides and flash floods unleashed by "Vinta" have killed at least 160 people in the Philippines.
According to the latest report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, a total of 168,129 families in 1,153 barangays were affected by the typhoon.
Source: Philippine News Agency