Regional disaster centre starts work to sharpen military response

SINGAPORE - Work on a new coordination centre in Singapore is underway to get help to where it is needed quickly when disaster strikes.

Called the Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre (RHCC), the facility is aimed at getting militaries in the region to become effective first responders.

The centre, based in the Changi Command and Control Centre, will not just collate and share information among its partners but also take the decision deploying a response team within 48 hours of a disaster to ground zero.

Second Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Friday that the first 48 hours of a disaster is critical and a period that militaries can play a significant role in complementing civilian agencies.

This unit will help coordinate the efforts of militaries and civilian agencies so they share the same picture of what is happening to better deliver aid on the ground.

The centre is currently manned by officers from the Singapore Armed Forces. Their regional counterparts are expected to join the RHCC by next year when it goes operational.