Deputy PM urges for readiness in response to natural disasters

>>> Deputy PM directs flood recovery efforts in Yen Bai

>>> Flash floods and landslides ravage northern localities

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung made the suggestion during a meeting held by the National Steering Committee on Disaster Response and Search and Rescue on August 4 to discuss its 2016 operations and the work for first months of 2017, as well as the tasks for the remaining months of the year.

Over the recent times, the country has experienced a range of natural disasters and incidents and the National Committee, in which the armed forces play a key role, has closely monitored the situation and regularly directed the relevant forces to respond in a timely manner, contributing to minimising the damage to people and their properties, while at the same time helping to stabilise the lives of affected people in drought and flood-hit areas.

According to the National Committee, there were 4,576 natural disasters, accidents and incidents (excluding road traffic and railway accidents) in 2016, an increase of 279 cases over the same period of the previous year, causing huge damages.

Natural disasters killed 736 people in 2016, up 68 from 2015 (10%), caused 194 people to go missing, (down 11%) and injured 755 people (down 4%). Regarding damage to properties, there were 267 vehicles sunk, while 270 were damaged, 2,688 houses and workshops caught on fire and 1,272 collapsed, while 349,966 houses were unroofed and flooded, 3,374 ha of forest and vegetation were caught on fire and 329,441 ha of crops were damaged.

In the first seven months of 2017, weather conditions and natural disasters continue to evolve in a complicated manner with heavy rains causing flooding in Ho Chi Minh City and other southern provinces, wreaking havoc in several localities, whilst serious fires and explosions have increased.

Nam Pam Bridge on National Highway No. 279D in Muong La district, Son La province has been washed away by flash floods on August 3. (Credit: NDO)

Particularly, the terrible flash flood on Thursday morning caused great damage to the two provinces of Yen Bai and Son La and the search and rescue forces are currently working hard to overcome the consequences.

These statistics show the increasing complexity and serious damage caused by natural calamities and incidents, which places a heavy task on the government, relevant ministries and localities, as well as the National Committee and search and rescue forces throughout the country.

In the face of the complexities of natural disasters, the committee has instructed specialised units to strictly maintain their duty and review any adjustments and additions to plans on promptly responding to any such calamities.

The work of notification, warning and evacuation has been implemented in a timely and improved manner. Localities relocated 29,335 households from dangerous places to safe shelters, helped people to cope with drought and saline intrusion, transported 153,975 m3 of clean water and dredged 56.7 km of canals. In 2016, 4,868 people were saved, up by 20.37% over the same period in 2015; while 289 vehicles were rescued, up 9.8% over the same period from the previous year.

Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung speaks at the conference. (Credit: VGP)

Besides the advantages and outstanding results, according to Deputy PM Dung, the search and rescue work still face certain shortcomings, as there remains neglect in responding to disasters and in reviewing and assessing high risks of incidents.

In addition, forecast and warning work remains limited. If forecasting and warnings are made even a few minutes earlier, it will significantly help to reduce damage and facilitate the search and rescue work, Deputy PM Dung added.

Another limitation in the search and rescue work is the lack of equipment, especially equipment used for distant sea rescues and search and rescue for underground incidents, as well as firefighting equipment.

According to Deputy PM Dung, due to the impact of climate change, in 2017 and the following years, the climate continues to evolve in very complex, extreme and unpredictable manner and accidents can happen both on land and at sea.

The government official asked the concerned authorities and people to be well-prepared to grasp the situation of incidents and natural disasters in their areas, and to timely coordinate and propose effective measures to respond to any situation.

A landslide on the Provincial Road No. 127 in Can Ho commune, Muong Te district, Lai Chau province, causes traffic jams. (Credit: NDO)

He requested that the National Committee direct and guide the relevant ministries, branches and localities to review, adjust and supplement plans for coping with disasters which can occur in each location, particularly in high risk areas, in line with the actual situation of each locality.

It is necessary to promote information dissemination to the local people in various attractive and creative ways, with improved responsibility of all levels in responding to natural disasters and search and rescue, in addition to strengthening inspection over responding plans in the field.

Another request made by the deputy PM is to strengthen bilateral and multilateral international cooperation with regional and international countries to exchange meteorological data, improve forecasting capacity, and learn experience in training and management on disaster prevention and search and rescue.

He also urged for the continuous implementation of plans for promotion, exchange and cooperation on search and rescue at sea, while negotiating search and rescue areas at sea between Vietnam and other countries in the region, in accordance with the implementation plan of the 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) approved by the Prime Minister.



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