November 20, 2013
The unfolding international response to Typhoon Haiyan, in the same super-destructive league as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Cyclone Nargis in 2008, and Japan’s 2011 triple disaster, has again underscored the importance of the naval dimension to Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations across the Indo-Pacific. The US, UK, and Japan have all deployed military assets commensurate with their large civilian aid efforts. Several ASEAN members have also deployed defense assets, bilaterally, to support the relief operation. ASEAN itself has been slow to react, however. This is odd, considering the high-profile attention given to HADR cooperation within ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the ADMM Plus.