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Jakarta Post

Protected together: Preserving health, dignity, saving lives in emergencies

  • Poonam Khetrapal Singh

    Regional director, World Health Organization Southeast Asia

New Delhi   /   Sat, September 21 2019   /  01:06 am

On Dec. 26, 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck the ocean floor off the coast of Sumatra. The earthquake then triggered a tsunami that rumbled out across the Indian Ocean and onto the coastlines of surrounding countries. Almost 200,000 people were killed; at least 5 million were affected. Owing to its sheer scale, the Indian Ocean tsunami looms large in the World Health Organization Southeast Asia Region’s collective memory. It has also loomed large in how the Region approaches all-hazard emergency risk management and response: to prevent and manage public health emergencies, we must manage risks, and to manage risks, we must identify and remedy vulnerabilities.That approach has seen the Region become a global leader in the field. The Region’s 12 benchmarks of emergency preparedness and response, for example, are a one-of-a-kind initiative. So too is the Southeast Asia Regional H...