Forest fires in Indonesia (Photo: japantimes.co.jp)

Hanoi (VNA) - More than 650 million people in Southeast Asia live in disaster-prone areas, ANTARA News quoted Chief of the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Willem Rampangilei as saying.

"Natural disasters inflict up to 4.4 billion USD in losses in the region every year," he noted, while addressing the 29th meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) in Indonesia on October 11.

In responding to the losses from natural disasters, he praised the adoption of the joint declaration, "One ASEAN One Response" on September 6 this year. The move is also a common effort to build resistance to disasters.

Strengthening ASEAN’s position is a common agenda as part of cooperation and solidarity among ASEAN member states.

"Those at the 29th ACDM meeting discussed a wide range of issues related to disaster mitigation efforts, according to the priority programme of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) for 2016-2020," he said.

A series of large natural disasters in ASEAN have caused losses of trillions of rupiahs and claimed many lives, he said.

Because of that, ASEAN member states have agreed to cooperate in dealing with disasters in the future, he said.-VNA