Increasing the management of information to cope with natural calamities in Vietnam was the main topic of a meeting that opened in Hanoi on Sept. 24.

Co-hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee, the two-day meeting brought together 70 delegates from concerned ministries and agencies and international organisations such as Care, Oxfam, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Children’s Fund.

The participants discussed and put forward a range of experiences in responding to natural disasters to help the country draw lessons in order to mitigate any future adverse impacts.

They also proposed measures to enhance efficiency, including setting up a mechanism to distribute international relief aid to affected people, getting the general public more involved in humanitarian relief activities and deploying on the spot services to deal with natural disasters.

MARD Deputy Minister Dao Xuan Hoc praised the international community’s assistance to Vietnam and called for more help in the prevention and control of natural disasters.

UN Acting Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Jesper Morch said that Vietnam is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of responding to natural disasters.

He also said that in order to improve the efficiency of rescue and aid services, all nations, including Vietnam , need more support from international organisations.

MARD’s statistics show that over the past decade, natural disasters in Vietnam have left an average of 750 people dead or missing annually, and caused damage to property equivalent to 1.5 percent of the country’s GDP.

Environmental experts forecast that Vietnam is likely to suffer numerous severe natural disasters in the future due to impacts of climate change.

Like Vietnam , many other countries are badly affected by natural disasters, which are directly or indirectly responsible for three-quarters of the deaths and 62 percent of the total losses in the world each year./.