Community Building at the Time of Nargis: The ASEAN Response

Julio Santiago Amador III


Cyclone Nargis was one of the most powerful disasters to hit Myanmar and Southeast Asia. Myanmar was criticized internationally for its allegedly slow effort in allowing international aid to enter into the country. This paper examines the criticism levelled against the ASEAN for its slow response in providing aid to the beleaguered in Myanmar and relates that criticism to ASEAN’s disaster management policy. It focuses on ASEAN’s engagement with Myanmar in order to allow humanitarian aid to flow into the country. The paper suggests that in time ASEAN will have to move from its doctrine of non-intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state to one of non-indifference if it wishes to remain relevant. Ultimately, ASEAN will have to re-evaluate its own goals in order to be a more successful apparatus for interstate and regional affairs, especially with respect to humanitarian crises brought about by natural disasters.

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