Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono opened the International Search and Rescue (SAR) Forum of International Search And Rescue Advisory Group (ISF-INSARAG) for the Asia-Pacific region here on Tuesday.

Agung was during the occasion accompanied by Transportation Minister Freddy Numberi, Head of the National Search and Rescue Board (Basarnas) Lt Gen (ret) Nono Sampono, INSARAG chief Tony Frisch and Putu Swardika representing Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika.

In his address, Agung expressed hope that ISF-INSARAG would serve as media to increase Basarnas` competence and encourage it to develop more comprehensive cooperation with its counterparts in other Asia-Pacific countries in the humanitarian field.

"Basarnas has proven its role in handling disasters in the country. I hope that by taking part in the forum Basarnas will increase its competence, cooperation and coordination at international level particularly with Asia-Pacific countries," he said.

The opening ceremony brought together delegates from 21 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Myanmar, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States.

Following the opening ceremony Basarnas launched a campaign program called SAR Goes To School. On the occasion, Agung handed a SAR book to a senior high school student, Numberi to a junior high school student and Sampono to an elementary school student.

"SAR Goes To School is part of the program to familiarize students with SAR and provide them with SAR skills with the aim of improving the people`s awareness since the very beginning so as to reduce the number of people killed or injured when disasters occur," Sampono said.

Indonesia was appointed to host the three-day meeting based on the outcome of the first INSARAG global meeting held in Kobe, Japan, on September 14-16 last year.


Editor: Suryanto
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