Extreme weather events cause US$660 million losses a year

More than 220 people died or went missing, while damage totaled US$660 million a year due to unseasonal rains, landslides, erosion, whirlwinds and lightning between 2011 and 2015.

The information was revealed at a meeting of the central steering committee for natural disaster prevention and control, in Hanoi on January 8. 

The more frequent unusual and extreme weather events in the last five years were attributable to climate change impacts. 

Notably, a record number of 19 storms and tropical depressions appeared in the East Sea in 2013. Severe saltwater intrusion and water shortages have also been reported across Vietnam since late 2014. 

Meanwhile, many localities saw rainfall of up to hundreds of milimetres per hour. 

To help localities battle disaster-caused damage, the Prime Minister approved more than 7 trillion VND (311.4 million USD) in relief-aid, and 47,000 tonnes of rice to support disaster-hit localities from 2011 to 2015. 

At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, appreciated the central steering committee’s close and effective coordination with authorised agencies in disaster prevention, search and rescue. 

He asked relevant agencies and localities to finalise disaster prevention plans, propose policies on controlling disaster risks emerging during the socio-economic development, and improve anti-disaster capacities at the grassroots level. 

He also urged for enhanced communication activities such as broadcasting disaster forecast bulletins, making documentaries, and handing out leaflets so that 70% of the population in the disaster-prone communes access disaster-related knowledge as planned.