ASEAN Secretariat, 7 October 2009
The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, yesterday visited Padang and Pariaman, two cities hit by a recent earthquake in the West Sumatra province of Indonesia.
Dr Surin, who is also the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator, obtained for himself first-hand information on latest developments in particular in the affected areas of Padang and Pariaman from the authorities of the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency, the Malaysian and Singaporean response teams, the United Nations and other international humanitarian teams on the ground. He also received an overview of the assistance being extended to the Government of Indonesia and noted that Thailand was providing relief aid to the victims.
During the visit, Dr Surin also met the Governor of West Sumatra, Mr Gamawan Fauzi. He also had an opportunity to discuss the emergency response measures with Vice President elect Mr Boediono who was also visiting Padang at the same time. Mr Boediono thanked ASEAN for overseeing the response and assistance being provided at the regional level.
“Indonesia has obtained a lot of experience and learnt a lot from the previous disasters,” noted Dr Surin, “and all these are now being used to put in place coordination on the ground.” He also noted that the Indonesian authorities were using the Indonesian Disaster Management Law to facilitate international assistance to move quickly into the affected areas.
Dr Surin also expressed condolences to the affected population and conveyed ASEAN's solidarity during this difficult time. “At a time where multiple disasters affect the ASEAN region almost simultaneously, ASEAN Member States’ prompt and quick response to Indonesia manifests ASEAN's solidarity and brotherhood on the ground,” he said.
In parallel with the visit of the Secretary-General to West Sumatra, Dr Surin’s Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Political-Security Community, Mr Sayakane Sisouvong, was concluding his visits to the Philippines and Viet Nam, two ASEAN Member States that were recently struck by Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana). Dr Surin is also expected to send an envoy to two other Member States that have also suffered from the storm, namely Cambodia and Lao PDR.