JAKARTA, Indonesia, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California-based humanitarian aid group Direct Relief today signed an agreement with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) to provide prepositioned emergency medical supplies for ASEAN's collective response to regional disasters.
Founded in 1948 and privately funded, Direct Relief is the largest U.S.-based nonprofit provider of essential medications and supplies for emergency situations and ongoing humanitarian assistance. The $1.4 billion in private aid it has delivered since January 2015 has included over 3,500 tons of specifically requested medications and basic commodities, including 519 million defined daily doses of essential medications, which the organization received as contributions from global healthcare companies.
Direct Relief will preposition supplies in ASEAN's three regional logistics hubs in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The AHA Centre was created by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2011 to coordinate the collective response by ASEAN nations to disasters within the region. AHA Centre today celebrated the fifth anniversary of its creation.
According to the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN region suffered 354,000 disaster-related fatalities between 2004 and 2014, more than half of the world's total in that period. Economic losses from those disasters totaled an estimated $91 billion.
Prepositioning critical relief supplies will allow aid to be delivered to disaster victims far more rapidly. Emergencies often trigger an outpouring of assistance from many sources that have the unintended effect of creating delays when time is of the essence, as bottlenecks occur in logistics channels and national and local governments bear additional burdens trying to ensure that materials being imported are appropriate for the circumstances.
Direct Relief plans to begin prepositioning supplies by early next year at the AHA Centre logistics hub in Subang, Malaysia. The supplies will include Direct Relief's Emergency Health Kits – each a pre-packed module containing essential medications and supplies recommended by the World Health Organization to care for 1,000 patients for up to a month – as well as its Emergency Medical Packs, which were developed with public health officials and emergency response professionals. The Emergency Medical Packs are now used routinely in global emergencies after having been adopted as the approved standard for California's Medical Reserve Corps members who deploy in emergency situations.
"2016 is the year when the AHA Centre began to realize the spirit of One ASEAN One Response," said Mr. Said Faisal, Executive Director of the AHA Centre. "This year we have partnered with various stakeholders from the academe, think-tank, private sector, and civil society organizations. The signing of this Memorandum of Intent with Direct Relief is one of the embodiments of this spirit, and we look forward to this new partnership."
"The AHA Centre is serving such a critical role in advancing and ensuring coordination during emergencies that regularly affect ASEAN's member countries and their citizens," said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. "Direct Relief is honored to have been invited by the AHA Centre to help ASEAN prepare for future disasters and be part of the One ASEAN One Response initiative."
Direct Relief also plans to engage in this effort the many healthcare companies with which it already works extensively and that have large regional operations in ASEAN.
About Direct Relief Direct Relief provides humanitarian medical aid in all 50 U.S. states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Among other distinctions, Direct Relief has earned a perfect score of 100 from independent evaluator Charity Navigator, has been named among the world's ten most innovative nonprofits by Fast Company, and has received the CECP Directors' Award, the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation and the President's Award from Esri for excellence in GIS mapping. Direct Relief is headquartered in Santa Barbara, Calif. For more information, please visit www.directrelief.org.
About the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (the AHA Centre) The AHA Centre is an inter-governmental organization established by ten (10) ASEAN Member States on 17 November 2011 with the aim to facilitate cooperation and coordination amongst ASEAN Member States and with relevant United Nations and international organizations in promoting regional collaboration in disaster management. The AHA Centre is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.