Natural disasters killed 15 people and destroyed nearly 1,700 houses in the five first months of the year, said a report released by Vietnam’s Central Steering Committee on natural disaster control and prevention on Tuesday.
The country also endured estimated losses of more than 3.2 trillion dong ($137 million) due to extreme weather with thousands of hectares of rice and vegetable damaged and some 54,200 houses severely damaged, said Vietnam Disaster Management Authority deputy head Nguyen Truong Son. More disasters are forecast to strike the country towards the end of the year.
Saline intrusion on some rivers in Mekong Delta has exceeded the historic 2015-2016 dry season which caused 15 trillion dong in damages. The intrusion has come a month earlier than in previous years and saltwater has reached up to 100km into rivers and withdrawn very slowly.
Extreme weather has been reported nationwide since the beginning of the year including more than 100 hailstorms in 31 provinces and cities and Hanoi’s temperature drop to 16.5C late last month, the lowest at that time of year in five decades.
To prepare for coming disasters, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) has accelerated IT use to provide warnings, said its vice-president Nguyen Hai Anh.
VNRC’s community-based interventions focus on clean water, safe accommodation, livelihoods and health care.
Anh said using a forecast-based action plan and the private sector’s engagement were highlights of VNRC’s disaster prevention and response activities last year.
In the first five months of this year, the VNRC allocated more than 100 billion dong to support people and localities affected by extreme weather and the pandemic.
Vietnam must not surrender to the impacts of climate change, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the national online conference on disaster control and prevention on May 15, urging people to adapt and drive the country forward.
Disasters are estimated to cost Vietnam one to 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product annually.
Facing prolonged drought since the beginning of this year, authorities of coastal central Ninh Thuan province have enhanced the disaster risk level to three (severe) on the whole provincial area and four (hazardous) in the districts of Thuan Nam and Thuan Bac.
As of May 15, the total amount of water remaining in 21 local reservoirs was nearly 25 million cubic metres, only 12.84 per cent of total capacity and the lowest level in the past five years. Many reservoirs have reported dead water levels.
The provincial People’s Committee tasked the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, districts’ steering committees for disaster prevention and search and rescue, police and related agencies to respond, mitigate and minimise impacts of drought on people’s livelihoods and the local economy.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK