Flood in central region (Illustrative image: VNA)

Quang Nam (VNA) –
The Vietnam Red Cross Society was selected to represent national organisations in Southeast Asia to host a meeting marking International Day for Disaster Reduction in the central province of Quang Nam on October 13.

At the event, the World Disasters Report 2016, compiled by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, was announced.

According to the report, 98.6 million people worldwide were affected by disasters in 2015, with 92 percent of the disasters caused by climate change, particularly drought. Vietnam is among the top five countries bearing the full brunt of natural disasters and climate change impacts. The Southeast Asian nation is hit by between 10 and 15 storms annually, which inflict 50 percent of land and 70 percent of the population in vulnerable areas.

Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRSC) Deputy Secretary General Dang Minh Tien said natural disasters and diseases are on the rise, requiring more investment to mitigate losses.

The building of safe and resilient communities is also important, he noted.

VRSC has established a control office and a special taskforce for natural disaster response, along with a network of 31 response teams at provincial level and 200 teams at communes.

The society’s chapters across the country have built nearly 30,000 Red Cross Houses and relief goods storage in areas vulnerable to natural disasters.

Vietnam has also joined campaigns supporting natural disaster victims in the world.

The same day, hundreds of students in Muong Ang town in the northwestern province of Dien Bien gathered at an event themed “live to tell”, which also aimed to celebrate International Day for Disaster Reduction.

At the function, Deputy head of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Ha Son said Dien Bien is prone to earth quakes, severe cold spells, lightning strikes and whirlwinds.

Undertaking precautions against natural disasters could help minimise damage and raise public awareness on self-protection, he noted.

Official statistics showed that natural disasters cost Dien Bien 421 billion VND (18.87 million USD) in 2015 and 203 billion VND (9.1 billion USD) in the first half of 2016.

At the event, 15 gifts were granted for needy students with outstanding academic achievement.

The event was co-organised by Save the Children – an UK non-governmental organisation that has offered urgent aid to two million Vietnamese since 1990. In Dien Bien, it has carried out projects targeting school children, helping them understand more about disaster risk mitigation.

Held every October 13, the UN International Day for Disaster Reduction has promoted a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction since 1989.-VNA