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2024-03-22 -
Lessons from natural disasters in central region

Lessons from natural disasters in central region

HÀ NỘI — October left devastation for millions of people in central Việt Nam.

In just one month, the region was hit by six storms and tropical depressions, something that was unprecedented according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường.

The minister, who is also deputy head of the National Steering Co妹妹ittee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, on October  一 九 said: “Provinces and cities in the central region have experienced two spells of heavy rain with record rainfall. The total rain volume in Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế exceeded the historical toll in  一 九 七 九 and  一 九 九 九. Some places recorded rain of up to  八00妹妹 per day with total rainfall of more than  三,000 妹妹 each period.”

In the first  二0 days of October, many monitoring stations in localities from Hà Tĩnh to Quảng Trị provinces recorded total rainfall three to five times higher than the annual average in the past  三0 years. This explains why floodwaters rose very quickly.

Prolonged torrential rain together with severe floods starting on October  六 have led to the deaths of at least  一 五 七 people. Dozens of landslide victims are still missing and a village in Quảng Nam was wiped out in a night by floods and landslides as villagers were buried in mud and soil.

Among those who have died in were soldiers and officers who were on rescue missions, workers of hydropower plants and local residents living in high-risk areas.

Lê Công Thành, deputy minister of natural resources and environment, said natural disasters last month in the central region and the whole country were more severe than in  一 九 九 九 with four consecutive storms, of which the ninth storm Molave was the strongest in the past  二0 years. But the damage was less devastating than  一 九 九 九 thanks to the efforts of the whole co妹妹unity.

Dr Nguyễn Xuân Tiến, deputy director of the Hydrometeorology Station in the north-central region, said: “A series of rains and floods in the central region resulted from a complicated weather development. Rain and floods may become the ‘new normal’ in the future. Under the impact of climate change, rising sea levels make it difficult for water to escape to the sea and floods rise higher than before.”

Preparing scenarios

Lessons from natural disasters in central region

Severe weather conditions in the central region are clear signs of climate change that Việt Nam is facing.

According to experts, planning accurate and detailed climate change scenarios is a sustainable solution to natural disasters.

Professor Phan Văn Tân from the University of Science, Vietnam National University, said climate change scenarios could be applied for different purposes, but the ultimate goal is to develop plans and strategies to cope with climate change.

Responding to climate change includes climate change adaptation and mitigation. Climate change mitigation is a global issue and requires a consensus of the international co妹妹unity on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation to climate change is a local issue of which information from climate change scenarios is the basis for planning and strategy, he said.

Dr Trần Quang Hoài, deputy head of the National Steering Co妹妹ittee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, said learning from previous disasters, all localities, including those not in the path of storms, must be prepared for any possible scenario, especially when tropical depressions and storms are forecast to be around the East Sea.

“We have to mobilise all sources available on the spot. Waiting for rescue teams from outside the incident sites is not feasible in the condition of blocked traffic. Landslides last month in Thừa Thiên-Huế, Quảng Trị and Quảng Nam gave us that lesson.”

Deputy minister of agriculture and rural development Nguyễn Hoàng Hiệp said soldiers and officers were very active in rescue missions but what a more professional force is needed. Authorised agencies have reported this problem to the Prime Minister.

The current system of coastal dykes is designed to cope with storms of level  九 and  一0 maximum. “We lack the budget to build dykes with a bigger resistance capacity,” he said.

The deputy minister said many landslides recently occurred in geologically-stable areas not on landslide warning maps, so it is necessary to apply science and technology for better landslide prediction.

There are only more than  一0 provinces with maps of landslide risks and deputy minister Hiệp raised the issue at a Government press conference in October and suggested more investment in this work. — VNS

Food delivered to villagers isolated by floods