Natural disasters cause multi-million USD damage to northern mountainous region hinh anh 1A landslide triggered by torrential rains on a road in Trinh Tuong commune of Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province, in early July (Photo: VNA)

Lao Cai (VNA) - Natural disasters have cost Vietnam’s northern mountainous areas about 610 billion VND (26.3 million USD) so far this year, compared to 753 billion VND last year.

The figures were released at a conference on the region’s natural disaster prevention and control efforts, held in the northern province of Lao Cai on July 13 and gathering leaders from 13 provinces together with 248 delegates.

There were 92 whirlwinds, hail storms, and heavy downpours; two flash floods that triggered landslides; and 12 earthquakes. Nineteen people had died as of July 9, with 79 others injured, 53,633 houses ruined, and 10,009 ha of rice and vegetables damaged.

Deputy head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Tran Quang Hoai highlighted difficulties in forecasting, emergency alerts, and monitoring work in the region, saying infrastructure is outdated.

He also pointed to shortcomings in the management of small reservoirs and a lack of professional equipment to access disaster-hit areas and serve search and rescue efforts.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong requested that committees for natural disasters prevention and control as well as search and rescue at different levels deploy teams to examine the safety of houses in high-risk locations, inspect reservoirs, and install rain and flow monitoring devices, among other tasks.

He asked local provinces to prioritise budgets for disaster response, particularly in communications, capacity enhancement, and planning./.