New Straits Times
PM: WE CAN’T RUSH TO HELP
‘Helping other nations without planning can cause a chaotic situation to become more chaotic’
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.”