Rescue workers help an old victim in the drought-hit area. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Prime Minister has asked relevant agencies to bolster their preparations against extreme weather like typhoons, prolonged drought and massive floods, as they are forecast to hit Vietnam heavily in the next five years.

The Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and the National Committee for Search and Rescue (NCSR) are the two agencies in charge of managing collaboration between ministries and their provincial departments to draft responsive plans to such extreme weather.

Since last year, Vietnam has been severely suffering from the impacts of El Nino – likely to be the longest one in the last six decades – with nearly 40,000ha of agricultural land rendered inadequate for production due to a massive drought across the central region, Central Highlands and southern region. The weather pattern also caused water shortages that affected tens of thousands of people.

El Nino was predicted to last until the end of this spring, and will possibly be followed by the La Nina phenomenon. La Nina often causes the opposite effects of El Nino, resulting in more rain and flooding as well as landslide risks.

The Prime Minister also directed the NCSR to modernise the vehicles and equipment used by rescue forces as well as promote rescue rehearsal drills and international cooperation in humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), meanwhile, was urged to finalise the draft plan on constructing a monitoring system for hydro-meteorology forecasting, especially for rain and floods.

MoNRE is also working on the first-ever disaster alert map on a national scale that will predict natural disaster risks like storms, flash floods, landslides or salinisation across the whole country, serving as the decision-making basis for relevant agencies to carry out preventive measures.

A map specifically on flooding caused by higher seawater levels, and another one on flood risks posed by hydroelectric reservoirs, are being developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The MARD and MONRE are expected to cooperate in guiding farmers on which crops and livestock to farm in accordance with the water level each locality will be able to provide.

The Prime Minister also asked the MARD to quickly finish anti-drought and water supply projects while promoting the application of advanced farm sprinkling techniques that efficiently cut down on water usage.

The Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) is tasked with reviewing the safety of coal waste dump sites, which could be seen creating piles resembling small mountains in Quang Ninh province – the leading province of Vietnam's coal industry.
Non-stop rains in the province last July triggered a landslide from such coal sludge mountains, burying a 94-household community in Mong Duong ward in Cam Pha city.-VNA