On 19th August, the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) at RSIS co-hosted a webinar with colleagues from the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) in Indonesia to commemorate World Humanitarian Day. Professor Mely Caballero-Anthony, Head of NTS Centre, RSIS delivered the welcome remarks and Ms Adelina Kamal, Executive Director, AHA Centre moderated the session titled “Humanitarian Assistance in Southeast Asia during COVID-19”. The panel included Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia on Public Health; Ms Carol Lee, Executive Director, Mercy Relief; Mr Masahiro Ishizeki, Head, International Programmes, Mercy Relief; and Dr Alistair D. B. Cook, Coordinator of the HADR Programme, NTS Centre, RSIS. The speakers examined how the region is coping with the dual challenges of a pandemic and the threat of natural hazards, while also preparing for simultaneous disasters in the future. Some of the insights from the webinar included the prospects for national One Stop Shops to facilitate the government’s relations with local and national partners, including the private sector, all of whom have strong networks within communities; the need to have a clear vision and goal when trying to effect change in the humanitarian sector; and the need for humanitarian practitioners to actively engage with other groups such as the private sector and academia.
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