On 16 August The United Nations opened a four-day pandemic preparedness exercise in South-East Asia with the aim of boosting the region’s capacity to handle such an event.
The exercise, ‘Southeast Asia Regional Multisectoral Pandemic Preparedness and Response Table Top Exercise: Managing the Impact of Pandemics on Societies, Governments and Organisations’, is taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. According to the organizers, it marks the first time that multiple nations have united to simulate the effects of a pandemic on different sectors of an entire region’s essential services.
“This event provides the opportunity to bring the multi-sector preparedness focus to a regional level” and to set a global example, said Nhim Vanda, a senior disaster management official with the Cambodian government.
The exercise has been designed to study how an outbreak of a serious pandemic, and the resulting high absenteeism, would impact several essential services simultaneously, especially energy, transport and health care. It is simulating a communicable disease emergency on the fictional continent of Pandemica, which has five countries with similar economic and infrastructural conditions to South-East Asia.
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as the UN and other humanitarian organizations, are taking part.
The UN is co-hosting the exercise with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). UN agencies and offices, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and WHO, are also taking part.
•Date: 18th August 2010 • Region: SE Asia•Type: Article •Topic: Pandemic planning
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