Floodwater flows in ​Mu Cang Chai town in the northern province of Y​en Bai at the beginning of August (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
- Natural disaster forecasts should be tailored to specific locations instead of large areas, Nguyen Van Khanh, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of the northern province of Yen Bai has said.

About 10,800 people died or went missing due to natural disasters in Vietnam in the last 20 years, resulting in an average annual loss of 20 trillion VND (880 million USD) in GDP. The statistics were disclosed by the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) at a conference on natural disaster prevention on October 3 in Hanoi.

A 40 trillion VND (1.76 billion USD) loss was incurred by natural disasters last year, said Tran Quang Hoai, director of the agency. Financial losses due to natural disasters since the beginning of this year had reached almost half this amount, he added.

Vietnam is one of the countries most affected by natural disasters and climate change. The country experienced 20 out of 21 types of the world’s disasters last year. The only one Vietnam didn’t suffer was a tsunami.

Hoai said that his agency would soon be carrying out a large-scale disaster prevention programme from the northern mountainous region to the central Ha Tinh province, with a focus on flood and landslide prevention.

Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Van Khanh, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of the northern province of Yen Bai, requested authorities improve the precision of natural disaster forecasts.

“Large-scale forecasts make it difficult for grassroots authorities to identify the disaster-prone spots and carry out preventive measures,” he said. “Rainfall, flood and landslide forecasts should be tailored to specific locations in a province, a district instead of a whole large area.”.

Junichiro Kurokawa, director general of the Japanese Department for River Management and Natural Disaster Prevention, said that apart from upgrading infrastructure and construction to withstand disaster, it is crucial to constantly gather information on the water levels of rivers and conditions of dams.

A strong collaboration mechanism for natural disaster prevention and reaction must be established between the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, the Committee for Ethnic Minorities, and the Steering Committee for the Northwestern Region, said Deputy Agriculture Minister Hoang Van Thang.

Restructuring residential areas, improving citizens’ livelihoods and growing protective forests should also be a focus of local authorities, he said.-VNA