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Vietnam prepares for natural disasters amid COVID-19

07 September 2021 | 08:42:00 AM

Local people need to be equipped with essential skills to cope with natural disasters, especially those in the mountainous, remote and ethnic areas, as more storms and floods are expected during the rest of this year, according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

People transfer goods to residents after floods in the central province of Hà Tĩnh in 2020. VNA/VNS Photo Công Tường

In the context of natural disasters and complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee has issued an official document, asking provinces and cities to prepare response plans and scenarios for disasters and raise awareness of local people about survival skills.

Since early this year, Vietnam has had 53 light earthquakes, 105 hail storms and thunderstorms, 11 downpours and floods and 21 landslides.

Between January-May this year, natural disasters have claimed 21 lives, injured 29 people, damaged over 4,300 houses and destroyed over 32,000 hectares of rice and crops.

The economic loss due to natural disaster events amounted to about VNĐ119 billion in this period.

According to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, it is likely that 12-14 storms and tropical depressions will occur in the South China Sea area, of which five to seven will have direct impacts on the mainland.

Floods in rivers in Yên Bái, Ninh Bình and from Quảng Bình down to Bình Thuận provinces will be at Warning Levels 2 and 3. Floods and landslides in small rivers, streams and upstream areas along with inundation in urban areas are likely to happen, according to the centre.

Natural disaster events are more likely to happen and tend to be more unpredictable, causing increasingly serious damage to production activities and people's lives.

This requires us to pay more attention to the natural disaster prevention, response and impact mitigation work in the coming time, especially in the context of the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in many localities, according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

In order to proactively respond to the ‘double disasters’ of natural disasters and COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority has developed documents guiding localities to develop plans to respond to natural disasters.

The authority has issued a handbook for natural disaster prevention in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, detailing specific response scenarios and plans for each region to ensure local authorities and people are aware of the safety instructions and skills needed to cope with the natural disasters amid COVID-19.

It also cooperated with other agencies to develop communication materials and publications including Infographic, television and radio programmes to help local people easily access information.

According to deputy director of Vietnam Disaster Management Authority, Nguyễn Văn Tiến, localities should integrate COVID-19 prevention and control measures into response plans for natural disasters as well as manage to limit mass evacuation.

He said vaccinations should be prioritised for people tasked with natural disaster prevention, control, search and rescue work and people in high risk places.

Localities should also raise awareness of the public about the knowledge and skills to respond to natural disasters with special attention being given to remote, ethnic, border, and island areas.


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