Deputy PM: priority capital for disaster mitigation projects

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai requested capital to disaster mitigation projects be prioritised while chairing a teleconference in Hanoi on September 14.

The event was to review disaster prevention and control in the past eight months and lay out tasks for the future.

He called for more campaigns to raise public awareness of disaster mitigation with a focus on abnormal weather phenomena.

Localities were asked to re-examine disaster patterns to devise sound prevention solutions while continuing with the community-based disaster risk management scheme as approved by the Prime Minister.

The forecasting and progress of disaster control projects remain limited, the Deputy PM admitted.

In the face of the ongoing severe drought in the south central and Central Highlands regions, he urged authorities to appeal for water conservation and for farmers to switch to new crops.

Looking forward, he demanded the continuation of key disaster control and search-and-rescue tasks directed by the Prime Minister during a similar conference held early this year.

The enforcement of the Law on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control will be stepped up and forecasting capability will be improved.

All necessary resources will be put towards projects involving dyke reinforcement, evacuation, reserves safety and vessel shelter areas.

To brace for tropical storm Vamco, the third so far this year, he asked ministries, agencies and vulnerable localities to follow directions recently provided by the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and the National Committee for Search and Rescue.

In March, rainfall occurred in the central region, there were unusually cold temperatures in Sa Pa, hot spells in the north and central region and the heaviest rain in Son La and Quang Ninh in late July.

The country has experienced 78 rainstorms with whirlwinds and lightning that has left 116 dead and missing, 112 injured, led to the collapse of 1,130 houses, blown away nearly 13,700 roofs and inundated more than 66,000 hectares of rice and crops, resulting in an economic loss of more than VND5.4 trillion (US$245.4 million) so far this year.

Worsening soil salinity has also taken a toll on farmers’ livelihoods in the Mekong Delta, reported Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang.

According to the National Committee for Search and Rescue, more than 23,000 people and 400 pieces of equipment have been deployed for recovery efforts, with over 2,300 out of 8,200 individuals in high risk areas evacuated to safety.

Hoang DucGiang, Director of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, predicted 6-7 storms and tropical storms in the East Sea between now and the year’s end, 2-3 of which will enter Vietnam.

Due to the impacts of the El Nino weather phenomenon, the level of rain in the central region from September 2015 – February 2016 will be half of that recorded years ago, particularly in the central-central and southern regions during the rainy season from September – November.

Precipitation levels in the Central Highlands and southern regions and BinhThuan province from September 2015 – February 2016 will be 20-50 percent lower than traditional levels.