Manado, N Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - More than 650 million people in Southeast Asia live in disaster-prone areas, Chief of the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Willem Rampangilei said.

"Natural disasters inflict up to US$4.4 billion in losses in the region every year," he noted, while addressing the 29th meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) here on Tuesday.

In responding to the losses from natural disasters, he praised the adoption of the joint declaration, "One ASEAN One Response" on September 6 this year. The move is also a common effort to build resistance to disasters.

Strengthening ASEANs position is a common agenda as part of its cooperation, collaboration and solidarity among ASEAN member states.

"Those at the 29th ACIM meeting discussed a wide range of issues related to disaster mitigation efforts, according to the priority program of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) of 2016-2020," he said.

A series of large natural disasters in ASEAN have caused losses of trillions of rupiahs and claimed many lives, he said.

Because of that, ASEAN member states have agreed to cooperate to face disasters in the future, he said.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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