13:00 | 01/02/2021 Environment
(VEN) - Vietnam is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, making plans to mitigate the effects of natural disasters an urgent priority to limit damage to the economy and human lives.
Record 2020 floods caused huge damage to Vietnam’s central region
Abnormal and unpredictable disasters
In the past 20 years, natural disasters such as storms, floods and landslides have claimed lives of more than 13 thousand people in Vietnam, causing property losses of over US$6.4 billion. In 2020, natural disasters not only struck more frequently, but featured anomalous and unpredictable factors, causing great harm.
The storms and floods in 2020 surpassed both historical milestones and normal forecasts. Six storms landed one after the other, which gave no time for people to recover. Their strong effects combined with extreme and unusual weather caused weeks of heavy rain in the central region, especially in seven coastal provinces from Nghe An to Quang Ngai. Flood stages on six rivers surpassed historical levels, and torrential rain also led to serious landslides in mountainous areas.
According to the General Department of Disaster Prevention and Control (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), as of early December 2020, natural disasters had left 288 people dead, 65 missing and 876 injured; 3,424 houses collapsed, while 509,793 houses were flooded. In addition, 196,887 hectares of rice and crops were destroyed; 4.11 million poultry died. Thousands of dykes, embankments, canals, river banks, coastlines and roads were eroded and damaged, causing economic damage worth VND36 trillion. In all, the 2020 storms and floods in the central region had long-term consequences that cannot be fully calculated in numbers.
As one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to natural disasters, Vietnam will suffer huge losses unless it carries out active response measures. Therefore, mitigating the effects of natural disasters must be an immediate, continuous and long-term task.
In the next five years, the Vietnamese government strives to reduce 30 percent of human damage to natural disasters of equal intensity and scale in the 2015-2020 period by applying the “four on the spot” motto (on-spot command; on-spot forces; on-site facilities and on-site logistics) and proactive prevention, prompt response and effective recovery.
In addition, they will focus on building a natural disaster prevention and control strategy for the 2021-2030 period; formulate national, regional, sectorial, urban and provincial planning associated with climate change response and natural disaster prevention and control. On that basis, they will implement select priority projects for investment in each period to ensure multi-goal objectives associated with natural disaster prevention and control.
They will also design warning maps of areas at risk of tube flood and flash floods, dangerous landslides, and develop an early warning system for prompt evacuation prior to landslides and flash floods, learning experiences from countries such as Japan, the United States.
The current unpredictable climate changes are becoming one of the biggest challenges, making adaptation to life with natural disasters an urgent issue.
According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), over the past 20 years, natural disasters of different types have increased by about 75 percent worldwide, killing more than one million people and affecting more than four billion people, causing economic losses of nearly US$3 trillion. Vietnam is listed among the five countries most severely affected by global climate change, with extreme weather phenomena appearing more frequently.