Manila: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc is preparing systems to enable member-states to better respond to natural disasters through joint action, Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi has said.

Asean has ten regular members including the Philippines. A number of countries in the region are located in areas vulnerable to natural calamities such as cyclones and earthquakes.

“The Asean Secretariat and the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) reaffirm our commitment to ensure the safety and well-being of the people during such time of suffering — the end goal as envisaged in the Asean Declaration on One Asean One Response,” Lim said in a statement.

On December 22, 2017 typhoon Tembin (known in the Philippines as “Vinta”) brought misery and destruction to the country.

Tembin caused flooding and landslides in parts of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.

More than 180 people were killed during the storm.

Lim said the effects of such natural calamities made concerted action as specified in the Asean Declaration of “One Asean One Response,” most relevant.

The official said the regional bloc’s mechanism to send humanitarian and relief assistance to affected member states would be operational in future, given the adverse effects of Tembin and other powerful weather disturbances.

“We will continue to monitor the situation... support the ongoing humanitarian and disaster-relief efforts, and help expedite the recovery work undertaken by the Government of the Philippines,” he said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the Philippines said a total of 168,129 families in 1,153 villages had been affected by Tembin.

“I also wish to commend the government of the Philippines for their disaster preparedness strategy, immediate response efforts, as well as prompt humanitarian assistance and evacuation measures to support the people in the affected sites,” he said.

“The landfall of tropical storm Tembin is one of many reminders of how development in the region remains susceptible to unprecedented risks. It is therefore incumbent upon us all to enhance the resilience of our communities through disaster risk reduction interventions, climate change adaptation strategies, as well as conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources,” he added.

The Philippines has its own Climate Change Fund to respond to calamities aside from budget allotted to government agencies responsible. However, sometimes, the effects of calamities are so huge and overwhelming for one country to handle on its own. Thus it needs the help of a community of nations such as Asean.