Indonesia launches regional disaster relief exercise without co-host Japan

16:51, March 15, 2011      

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Indonesia's Vice President Boediono formally opened the ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise (ARF Direx) at the seaside in Manado, North Sulawesi, on Tuesday, while exercise players from the co- host Japan had left ahead for their Tsunami affected home.

ARF Direx, jointly hosted by Indonesia and Japan, was attended by around 3,000 observers and excise players from a total 20 countries. Of them, about 600 were foreign visitors. The Japanese excise players returned in the evening of the earthquake and tsunami happened, leaving the planner team in Manado to continue their co-organization work.

Boediono sent his condolence to the victims that suffered from the recent disaster in Japan in his speech at the ceremony.

He said that the Asia-Pacific region, home of most member states of the ASEAN Regional Forum, was known as a Ring of Fire where volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis as well as other natural disasters such as floods and landslides, strike with distressing frequencies. In that case, he said that the ARF timely and increasingly necessary to address these common transnational challenges to human security together as a group in a more effective manner.

He said the ARF Direx exercise would examine and prepare Standard Operating Procedures in disaster management for those instances when the international community is involved, provide strategic inputs and recommendations to ARF member states with regard to Disaster Management.

The vice president also called on a rapid and coordinated regional response when the needs arise.

After the ceremony, search and rescue teams, disaster-related organizations and medical institutions from Indonesia and other participating countries made a demonstration of their equipment and excise program, including rescue vehicles, ships, helicopters and aircrafts, telecom vehicles, ambulances and evacuating victims in the sea by helicopter.

The event would last until March 20.

Source: Xinhua

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