In any natural disaster, time is critical. Every hour that passes without aid arriving means more lives lost, and more livelihoods permanently devastated, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region suffers from one of the highest rates of natural disasters in the world, and yet there is no hospital ship permanently based there. The SEA Spirit Foundation plans to change that by homeporting a disaster relief hospital ship staffed by highly-trained personnel and equipped with the latest medical technology in the ASEAN region. Also, with a permanent rotation throughout ASEAN, SSF aims to cut disaster response time from weeks to a matter of a few days.
The 650 million people in the ASEAN region represent 8.5 % of the global population, yet since 2003 have suffered 28% of global fatalities related to natural disasters.
The SEA Spirit ship will have two missions: serving as a teaching hospital focused on developing indigenous disaster response capability while in port and responding in hours not weeks to regional disasters.
Improved medical education and enhanced emergency response have been identified by the ASEAN nations as an important area for delivery of services. Working in coordination with ASEAN and the health ministries of each nation, the SEA Spirit Foundation intends to help address this need.
Common issues and needs in many ASEAN nations, especially in rural areas and secondary cities:
According to the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre, “Southeast Asia is located in one of the most disaster-prone regions of the world and is exposed to almost all types of natural hazards, including tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, typhoons, cyclones, droughts, landslides, and volcanic eruptions, with notable major disasters, including the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and 2008 Cyclone Nargis.”