JAKARTA, Indonesia, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California-based humanitarian aid group Direct Relief today signed an agreement with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) to provide prepositioned emergency medical supplies for ASEAN's collective response to regional disasters.
Founded in 1948 and privately funded, Direct Relief is the largest U.S.-based nonprofit provider of essential medications and supplies for emergency situations and ongoing humanitarian assistance. The $1.4 billion in private aid it has delivered since January 2015 has included over 3,500 tons of specifically requested medications and basic commodities, including 519 million defined daily doses of essential medications, which the organization received as contributions from global healthcare companies. Direct Relief will preposition supplies in ASEAN's three regional logistics hubs in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The AHA Centre was created by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2011 to coordinate the collective response by ASEAN nations to disasters within the region. AHA Centre today celebrated the fifth anniversary of its creation. According to the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN region suffered 354,000 disaster-related fatalities between 2004 and 2014, more than half of the world's total in that period. Economic losses from those disasters totaled an estimated $91 billion. Prepositioning critical relief supplies will allow aid to be delivered to disaster victims far more rapidly. Emergencies often trigger an outpouring of assistance from many sources that have the unintended effect of creating delays when time is of the essence, as bottlenecks occur in logistics channels and national and local governments bear additional burdens trying to ensure that materials being imported are appropriate for the circumstances.