New Straits Times

PM: WE CAN’T RUSH TO HELP

‘Helping other nations without planning can cause a chaotic situation to become more chaotic’

- AZURA ABAS AND IRWAN SHAFRIZAN ISMAIL cnews@nstp.com.my

WITHOUT coordinati­on and strategies, attempts to help victims of natural disasters can lead to chaos. Instead of helping, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said, one might hinder rescuers.

“This Asean Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and other meetings are being held (days after) Sulawesi, in neighbouri­ng Indonesia, was hit by a devastatin­g earthquake and tsunami.

“Several areas in Sulawesi — Palu, Donggala and Sigi — suffered massive destructio­n from the catastroph­e, and the reported deaths are more than 1,000. More than 60,000 homes were damaged and 60,000 more people are displaced.

“Such a tragedy is heart-wrenching. As neighbours, we do not want to sit and watch from the sidelines. But to attempt to help without coordinati­on and planning will cause a chaotic situation (to become) more chaotic, and instead of helping, we may trouble other rescuers.”

He said it was obvious that under such circumstan­ces, ACDM had a major role to play in coordinati­ng and extending assistance and support to the Indonesian authoritie­s in their daunting task in Sulawesi.

“In this context, the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) has been coordinati­ng with agencies and stands ready to deploy search-and-rescue teams as well as humanitari­an assistance to the Indonesian government.”

Later, Dr Mahathir witnessed the handover of humanitari­an aid to Palu worth RM1 million. The mock cheque was presented by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Dr Mahathir said almost half of the disasters in the world occurred in Asia, making the region the world’s most disasterpr­one area.

“According to global data, from 2000 to 2017, the Asia-Pacific region constitute­d 45 per cent of global disasters, 60 per cent of global disaster mortalitie­s and 85 per cent of global disasters affecting people.

“The risks of disasters should be taken seriously in view of the severity of their impact on lives and livelihood­s, as well as the developmen­t of nations.”

Dr Mahathir said with growing vulnerabil­ities due to population growth, unplanned and poorly planned urbanisati­on, environmen­tal degradatio­n and climate change, manmade disasters had increased alongside natural catastroph­es in frequency and intensity.

On the proposal for an e-Time Capsule for Resilient Asean, he said it might include the state of disasters’ whole cycle in Asean by referring to the World Risk Index or other globally-accepted indicators.

“It can be unlocked as early as 2025 in conjunctio­n with Asean Community Vision 2025 or in 2030 for comparison with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“I hope this idea can materialis­e at the 7th Asean Ministeria­l Meeting on Disaster Management in Myanmar, if possible with the assistance of the Asean Secretaria­t.”

 ?? PIC BY AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR ?? Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad looking on as Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail hands over a mock cheque for RM1 million for Palu, Sulawesi, to a representa­tive of the Indonesian embassy in Putrajaya yesterday.
PIC BY AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad looking on as Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail hands over a mock cheque for RM1 million for Palu, Sulawesi, to a representa­tive of the Indonesian embassy in Putrajaya yesterday.

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