Vietnam will host on October 21-24 the ASEAN Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX-13), which is expected to strengthen ASEAN’s collective response to massive disasters in the region.

The event, to be held in Hanoi's Ba Vi district, will test for the first time the operational capability of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) since its establishment in November 2011.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai will directly supervise the upcoming event which is jointly organised by the National Committee for Search and Rescue (VINASARCOM), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and AHA Centre.

ARDEX-2013 will focus on four targets in which participants would exchange information in case of disasters and perfect entry procedures in a fast and secure manner to carry out emergency relief, define challenges and assess possibilities for cooperation in response to urgent situations.

Ten ASEAN member states will join the exercise, of which seven will deploy forces and three others send observers. Around 2,500 people will take part in the event, which will deploy two helicopters, 23 canoes and vessels, one military bridge, 245 cars, and 359 search equipment and medical devices.
ARDEX is organised based on the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), which mandates the strengthening of the emergency response to disaster and humanitarian assistance coordination, according to the ASEAN Secretariat.

ARDEX-13 will use the scenario of Super Typhoon ‘Neptune’, which makes a landfall in the area of northern delta provinces of Vietnam causing large-scale inundation impacting dike systems and takes thousands of lives, while 10,000 people affected by collapsed houses and flooding are in need of emergency assistance.

At the strategic level, ARDEX-13 will focus on practicing, evaluating and reviewing the ASEAN Standby Arrangements and Standard Operating Procedures (SASOP) mechanisms to share and exchange disaster information, request and offer assistance, conduct joint emergency rapid assessment, and receive assistance.

At the tactical level, it will focus on disaster rescue and relief operations performed jointly by Vietnam as the host country and the participating ASEAN member states. The lessons in organisation, direction and coordination will be compiled to further improve SASOP and actual joint response to disasters.

As in previous ARDEX-2005 in Malaysia, ARDEX-2006 in Cambodia, ARDEX-2007 in Singapore, and ARDEX-2008 in Thailand, ARDEX-13 will directly benefit ASEAN member countries on information sharing, search and rescue coordination, and humanitarian assistance in disaster emergency response.-VNA