Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, speaks at the event. (Photo: VNA)

Hai Phong (VNA) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held a ceremony in the northern port city of Hai Phong on May 14 to launch the first-ever National Week for Natural Disaster Preparedness and Control.

The week has been designated by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for the period from May 15-22 each year.

It aims to encourage all-level authorities, organisations and people to stand ready for disaster combat, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, said at the ceremony.

The official highlighted major achievements recorded in the work thanks to joint efforts of the entire society over the past years. However, he also pointed out that the domestic disaster forecasting and early warning system has yet to meet requirements given worsening impact of climate change and sea level rise.

Besides, economic development has its role to play in the rise of disaster risks, he said, stressing the need for the society to set forth new visions and strategic orientations, work out and take concerted measures and mobilise social resources to combat natural disasters.

Vietnam is one of the countries hardest hit by disasters which leave 300 locals dead and missing each year, costing the country an average of around 1-1.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), Dung said.

He called for active response to the campaign from ministries, agencies, localities, political-social organisations, schools and armed forces, focusing on the communication work.

It is a must to perfect relevant institutions and policies, upgrade river and sea dykes, reservoirs and storm shelters, invest in the infrastructure in service of early forecasting and warning, and step up international cooperation in the work, the Deputy PM said.

He called on international organisations, businesses, the private sector and donors to continue accompanying the Vietnamese Government and people in disaster prevention and control.

According to Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tung, with a 125km coastline, Hai Phong is ravaged by up to three storms each year. Total losses caused by disasters in the locality over the past five years exceeded 1 trillion VND (43 million USD).-VNA