Mekong Delta region  is ordered to prepare measures to cope with natural disasters. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy chief of the Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Nguyen Truong Son asked localities in the Mekong Delta region to prepare measures to cope with natural disasters at a meeting in Hanoi on July 31.

He urged them to keep a close track of rain, flood, and storm developments in order to promptly inform people and prepare evaluation plans, especially in the low-lying and riverside areas, as well as preparations to quickly repair damaged sea dyke systems and address coastal erosions. 

According to Tran Ba Hoang, Director of the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research, localities in the Mekong Delta need to harvest their summer-autumn rice crops soon and shift to growing other crops resistant to natural disasters, in order to mitigate damage from potential floods.

The hydro-meteorological station in the southern region anticipated that on August 13, water levels are likely to reach a height of 3.7m at the Tan Chau station on Tien River and 3.1m at the Chau Doc station on Hau River. There is a high risk of flooding occuring in An Giang, Dong Thap, and Long An provinces.

According to the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disasters, in the first half of the year, 75 people were killed or missing, and 48 others were injured during natural disasters. Total economic damages reached 868.5 billion VND (37.73 million USD).

A total of 14 kinds of natural disasters occurred in the country during the period, including two typhoons, two tropical depressions, 88 thunderstorms, seven flash floods, numerous landslides, seven strong sea wind spells, and four extreme cold spells, among others.

In total, 509 houses were destroyed, while another 12,571 were damaged.

Fifteen thousand hectares of rice and 1,700ha of industrial plantations were also damaged, while nearly 9,000 fowl and 17,000 cattle were killed due to natural disasters.

In the remaining half of the year, Vietnam can expect 12-13 typhoons, with at least four or five making landfall, according to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting.

2017 witnessed 16 storms and six tropical depressions in the East Sea. Of them, five storms and three tropical depressions hit Vietnam.

Severe disasters resulted in 386 people dead and missing last year, 122 more people than in 2016, and 86 more than the average number of the past decade.

Economic losses amounted to 60,000 billion VND (2.6 billion USD), a 30 percent increase compared with 2016, and 2.5 times higher than the average of the past decade. –VNA