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Asia Pacific countries start disaster drills

 Members of the Philippine Coast Guard rescue mock victims during a disaster drill at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, Philippines on Monday May. 4...

Philippines Asia Disaster Drill

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard rescue mock victims during a disaster drill at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, Philippines on Monday May. 4...

Nearly 300 rescue workers began disaster-response drills Monday that included a mock high-seas rescue of passengers from a sunken ship, reflecting Asia's deepening concern over a series of deadly natural disasters.
The readiness of countries to collectively respond to a disaster has become a life-and-death matter for a disaster-prone region that could face the dire effects of global warming, including more destructive tropical storms and flooding from rising seas, officials said.
Collective action could more rapidly end any emergency in one country which could eventually affect others, officials said.
"The seamlessness and coherence of our interoperability in disaster relief is vital," Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Enrique Manalo said. "Devastation and damage can go beyond both natural and legal borders."
During an opening ceremony, Philippine navy and coast guard rescuers tried to save several passengers floating adrift in Manila Bay after their ship sunk in a mock exercise. A Japanese amphibian ship later came to the rescue, plucking four passengers to safety as diplomats and guests nearby broke into applause.
Myanmar's devastating cyclone and an earthquake in central China last year were some of the worst disasters in Asia in recent decades, both in terms of lives lost and economic damage. Cyclone Nargis killed 138,000 people when it hit Myanmar in May 2008. An earthquake in China's Sichuan province the same month claimed 70,000 lives.
Stacey Winston, a regional spokesman for the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid, said Asia has some of the most experienced countries in terms of dealing with major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and typhoons but governments still need to constantly remind communities to prepare.
Philippine disaster official Glen Rabonza said participants in the drills will share information on disaster response techniques, evacuations, reconstruction of schools and damaged bridges and restoring water supplies in regions struck by natural disasters.
The disaster drills, which the U.S. Embassy helped organize, is a project of the ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia's largest security bloc. Founded in 1993, it consists of 26 Asian and Western countries, including China, the United States and the European Union.


Updated : 2021-05-18 02:27 GMT+08:00