The East Asia Pacific region is one of the most disaster-prone areas in the world, susceptible to meteorological events, such as typhoons and floods, in addition to earthquakes, droughts, and volcanoes.
When disasters occur, humanitarian organizations must be ready to quickly and efficiently respond to the needs of affected populations. One way to prepare is by pre-positioning essential relief commodities in key areas for rapid distribution, as needed.
To assist the timely delivery of such commodities throughout the region, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) recently signed an agreement with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to maintain USAID/OFDA-provided relief supplies – plastic sheeting for temporary shelter, hygiene kits to meet critical health and hygiene needs, and water containers to enable the collection and storage of safe drinking water – at the WFP-operated UN Humanitarian Response Depot (HRD) in Subang, Selangor, Malaysia. Subang is centrally located, allowing for easy receipt and dispatch of relief supplies by road, sea, and air to locatoins throughout the region.
Through the agreement, USAID/OFDA joins several other national and international partners – ASEAN countries, Australia, Japan, and a number of international non-governmental organizations – maintaining supplies at the HRD.
After distributing emergency commodities to disaster-affected areas, USAID/OFDA plant to quickly replace the utilized stocks to ensure that relief items are available for the next disaster. Should a large-scale disaster occur that requires more commodities than USAID/OFDA maintains at the HRD, USAID/OFDA will provide additional relief items from warehouses in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
By serving multiple relief actors, such as the UN, regional entities, governments, and NGOs, the Subang HRD – through the support of the Government of Malaysia – manifests a critical partnership that has developed among stakeholders providing immediate and improved delivery of humanitarian assistance in the East Asia Pacific region.