The second regional collaboration drill under the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH) project took place in Da Nang from 27 to 28 March with the participation of 10 emergency medical teams (EMTs) from ASEAN member countries and Japan.
Jointly organised by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Da Nang People’s Committee, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Thailand’s National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM), the drill is part of the ‘Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management’.
It aims to strengthen regional coordination capacity on disaster health management in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and to boost the use of their resources in order to ensure the timely and effective response to widespread natural disasters.
The drill challenged participants to respond to a ‘super typhoon’ with wind speeds of 200km per hour sweeping central provinces from Thua Thien Hue to Quang Ngai Province, killing 500 people and wounding 800 others. In the training scenario, dozens of living quarters were isolated and nearly 10,000 victims were taken to hospitals.
ASEAN countries then responded to a call for help from Viet Nam through the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) and emergency medical teams (EMT) were sent to disaster-hit areas in Viet Nam with air cargo containing logistics and medical equipment.
“We have designed this field exercise to provide you knowledge and useful experiences in practising medical and humanitarian responses in an extreme disaster simulation. In this exercise, you will learn how to manage the information; how to report for effective collaboration among the EMTs, and how to work together with various local and international agencies in the affected areas”, Dr. Atchariya Pangma, General Secretary of Thailand’s National Institute for Emergency Medicine and Director of AHA project said.
Dr. Atchariya Pangma also added that the exercise was designed to help participating teams test the efficiency of the regional collaboration tools, namely the Standard Operating Procedure for the Coordination of EMTs in ASEAN and the health needs assessment framework that have been developed by the project working group.
Addressing the opening of the drill, Vietnamese Vice Minister of Health Pham Le Tuan said that it’s the second time that Viet Nam has hosted the drill with the aim of strengthening joint actions with regional countries in dealing with disaster. He added that it would be also a practical opportunity for EMTs from regional countries and Viet Nam to share experience and skills in management and planning of responses in the future disasters in the region.