Deputy PM calls for natural disaster response scenarios amid COVID-19

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh asked localities to outline scenarios for natural disaster responses amid the COVID-19 pandemic at an online national conference on national disaster prevention and control, and research and rescue on June 4.

Up to seven storms are forecast to hit mainland Vietnam this year, he explained, while calling for determination to minimise any losses.

Thanh, who is also head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and Chairman of the National Committee for Disaster Response and Search and Rescue, emphasised the need to improve forecasting capacity and invest more in natural disaster studies and the hydrometeorological monitoring system.

Natural disasters have become fierce and unexpected, the Deputy PM pointed out, highlighting the role of leaders in response efforts. 

He assigned tasks to the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Defence, and Public Security, as well as localities, which, he said, play a crucial role in this regard.

According to Tran Quang Hoai, General Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s General Department of Disaster Prevention and Control, Vietnam faced 14 storms, a depression, 120 flash floods and landslides, 90 earthquakes, and other types of natural disasters last year, with 357 fatalities and economic losses of US$1.73 billion.

UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra lauded the Vietnamese Government for its efforts in minimising disaster risks and boosting response measures.

In the context of the pandemic, improving preparedness and capacity as well as planning work, especially in localities, will be key to Vietnam’s success, he said.

UN agencies stand side-by-side with Vietnam and commit to further assisting the country in disaster response and climate change-related risks, he affirmed.

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