Relevant forces from ten ASEAN member countries and observers from China , Japan , the Republic of Korea , Australia , New Zealand , the US and UN bodies took part in a field disaster response simulation exercise in Hanoi ’s Ba Vi mountain area on October 23.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat attended the event, which was part of the ongoing 2013 ASEAN Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX-13).

The drill, co-organised by the Government of Vietnam and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), aims to assess standard procedures in operating disaster emergency response activities , and enhance collective response in the region .

The exercise uses the scenario of Super Typhoon ‘Neptune’, which makes a landfall in the northern delta provinces of Vietnam and causes a large scale of inundation impacting dike systems and takes thousands of lives. The typhoon also affects ten thousand people whose homes are collapsed and flooded, putting them in need of emergency assistance.

To deal with situation, the Vietnamese Government instructs relevant forces to take urgent rescue measures and launches state of emergency, and then asks for regional and international assistance via AHA Centre.

Vietnam, together with AHA Centre and ASEAN countries’ forces, sets up a multi-national monitoring centre which operates disaster rescue, humanitarian assistance and health care activities for areas in the west of Hanoi .

On October 24, all participants will evaluate the implementation of procedures and mechanisms during the exercise.

The lessons in organisation, direction, and coordination during ARDEX-13 will be compiled to further improve the ASEAN Standby Arrangements and Standard Operating Procedures (SASOP) and actual joint response to disasters.