Emergency and humanitarian action

Emergency Medical Team - Strategic Advisory Group Meeting, Geneva, February 2017

The WHO Health Emergencies Programme (WHE) of SEARO participated in the 5th meeting of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) for Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Initiative on 7 February 2017 in Geneva. The meeting was organized by WHO/HQ as part of the Humanitarian Network and Partners Week held from 6-10 February 2017 at the Center for International Conferences Geneva (CiCG).

During the SAG meeting, various issues and topics related to the EMT Initiative were discussed including: work plan, human resources, reports of working groups, framework for coordination with OCHA, collaboration with GOARN and Global Health Cluster and activities for 2017.

SEARO will be supporting several countries in the region to register their national EMTs during 2017-18. It will soon conduct mapping of current resources regarding this in the countries of the region.

Indonesia - Aceh Earthquake on 7 December 2016

The US Geological Survey reported a 6.5-magnitude, undersea earthquake in Indonesia's province of Aceh early Wednesday (7 December) around 05:00 hours local time. The epicenter was 12 miles (19 kilometers) southeast of the town of Sigli and 106 km southeast of the city of Banda Aceh at a depth of 15 km in Aceh province. At least five aftershocks followed the quake.

Indonesia's Climate, Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said the quake has no potential to trigger a tsunami. The earthquake was felt across much of Aceh, which was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Health in Disaster Risk Reduction

The WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia participated in the 7th Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) held on 3-5 November 2016 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

This ministerial conference was the first one held after the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in March 2015. Health is central to this framework and calls for enhanced cooperation to strengthen country capacity for emergency/disaster risk management and to implement the International Health Regulations (IHR) and build resilient health systems.

As part of the Conference, the regional office also organized an exhibit of key publications and advocacy materials on health and disaster risk management. It ran different videos and films from the Asian Tsunami of 2004 to the Nepal Earthquake of 2015, highlighting WHO/SEARO’s work in emergencies. The AMCDRR adopted Delhi Declaration and Regional Action Plan, incorporating “Bangkok Principles” as a priority for ensuring more systematic cooperation, coherence and integration between health and disaster risk management. This is considered as a major achievement for advancing health issues in the discourse on disaster risk reduction.

WHO provides emergency health supplies and funds to flood-hit DPR Korea - September 2016

World Health Organization is providing emergency health supplies and funds to DPR Korea where flash floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains have left hundreds of thousands of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in its northern provinces.

To meet immediate health needs of the affected population, USD 175,000 has been made available from WHO South-East Asia Regional Emergency Fund (SEARHEF). Medicines and medical equipment have been provided in form of 26 emergency health kits.Each emergency health kit can take care of health needs of 10 000 population for three months. Five tents have been provided to establish temporary hospitals in the affected areas along with diarrhoeal kits, water filters and water testing kits.

Many health facilities are damaged and some completely destroyed, severely hampering health services and availability of medicines for the affected population living in sub-optimal water and sanitation conditions and vulnerable to water borne and other diseases. Children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly are the most in need of support.

Myanmar Earthquake 2016


A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook central Myanmar on 24 August 2016, killing at least four people and damaging famous pagodas in Bagan and other regions. The earthquake, with its epicenter about 12 miles west of Chauk and about 123 miles southwest of the Mandalay seismological observatory, was recorded at 5.04 pm, according to the Meteorology and Hydrology Department. There are no confirmed casualties, one man and one woman were killed in Pakokku when a tobacco processing factory collapsed and two young girls at Yenanchaung were killed after a landslide and house collapsed. Currently, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has not been activated and the Union Government is closely monitoring the situation.

Myanmar Floods - 2016

The torrential rains in the country since the onset of the monsoons have led to flash floods and landslides impacting many parts of Myanmar from the rest. The main areas affected include Magway, Mandalay, Yangon, Kachin, Ayeyawady, Mon, Bago and Sagaing. The first report of flash floods was in late June in Kachin province and since then has impacted a larger area and is a matter of national concern. The major rivers have touched the highest ever levels in recent past and have led to disruption of daily normal activities in large areas of the country. Many schools have been closed. The relief measures have been taken up by the National Government with international agencies to help the affected population. The flood water is now at present flooding the southern parts of the nation.