Participants of the 3rd Southeast Asia Disaster Management Cooperation Meeting, with guest of honour in the centre (with songkok), at SEAMEO VOCTECH yesterday. The meeting ends Feb 22. Pic: Jacky Lim
Brunei Darussalam yesterday hosted the 3rd Southeast Asia Disaster Management Cooperation Meeting for the first time, ever since the country became a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 1997.
The 3rd Southeast Asia Disaster Management Cooperation Meeting was held in SEAMEO VOCTECH and ends on Feb 22. The meeting is organised by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and in the sultanate, and is hosted by the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society.
"This third meeting in Brunei, is an important step to put idea into action. Participants will share experiences in preparing for and response to disasters, exchange views on various ways and tools in disaster management, and identify areas and activities to work as a regional network," a statement said.
The meeting is attended by 19 participants from nine Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies in the region and representatives of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
This 3rd Southeast Asia Disaster Management Cooperation Meeting was officially opened yesterday morning by Yusof Amba, Acting Director of RIPAS Hospital. In his welcoming speech, he said, "Member countries of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have been taking turns in hosting the Southeast Asia Disaster Management Cooperation Meeting since 1997. And this year, the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society in particular and the people of Brunei are indeed fortunate and honoured to have this opportunity to host the 3rd such meeting for the first time in the country".
He also said, "The Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society was formally accepted as a full member of the 170th International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies since 1997. Since then, the society had benefited immensely in terms of upgrading the knowledge and skills of its members in the preparations and responses to disasters, be it natural or man-made.
"Brunei Darussalam as you know, is one of the most serene and peaceful countries in the South-east Asian region. We are indeed blessed and very fortunate that almost none of the natural disasters that struck other countries such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, typhoons, hurricanes and the likes are ever experienced by our country, apart from occasional incidents, like monsoonal floods in some areas of the country."
He added, "However, we should not be too complacent because disasters can happen at any place and time. If it is not a natural disaster, it can be man-made and can be due to human errors such as air crashes, oilfield blowouts, maritime accidents and the like.
"Thus, an organisation such as the Red Crescent in Brunei Darussalam is a potentially useful resource as a first line of support for example in terms of First Aid and Basic Life Support in times of need; whether it is in helping the Ministry of Health's medical support team during ceremonial functions which involves big crowds or events with the potential for disaster. The close cooperation between the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society and the Ministry of Health has existed for many years in numerous aspects of medical support including all exercises for major disasters planned by the ministry. In this respect, they are indeed indispensable as a supplier of skillfully-trained and dedicated volunteers in times when we need extra pair of hands to support us".
The chief guest also hoped that "the meeting will bring closer cooperation in disaster management and establish a strong regional network for the sharing of experiences and the exchange of information and tools as well as identifying working areas and activities in disaster management".
- Borneo Bulletin via BruDirect.com - Revised: February 21, 2002.