The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has hailed Vietnam’s efforts to stay well-prepared for the super typhoon Haiyan, the 14th to hit Vietnam this year.

In its recent press release, UNDP said as northern Vietnam recovers from the impact of typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands in the Philippines, the UN praises the Government of Vietnam’s proactive pre-storm measures, which have helped to save lives and mitigate impact.

Although Haiyan made landfall in Hai Phong and Quang Ninh in the early hours of November 11 as a Category 1 typhoon, 11 central and central northern provinces were pounded by heavy rainfall and high winds from the movement of the storm system offshore for the previous 24 hours. The full impact is currently being assessed. After making landfall, Haiyan quickly weakened into a tropical depression as it moved further inland, and changed its course to head towards southern China.

For the first time, the Vietnamese Prime Minister activated the highest state of preparedness on November 8, three days before the storm made landfall, the release said.

As part of preparedness and mitigation measures, nearly 800,000 people were evacuated in advance of the storm. By the time the typhoon finally came ashore in the North, most of those evacuated in the central provinces had already returned home, it added.

Central and provincial authorities were also placed on the highest level of alert to take all necessary preventive and response measures. A high-level Government delegation was deployed to direct operations, before, during and after the emergency.

“We are impressed by the extraordinary preparedness measures taken by the Government when confronted with this storm. Strong leadership, right from the highest level, played a key role in minimising the impact and number of lives lost” said UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta.

Both civil and military authorities were fully prepared. Each of the provinces had stockpiles of food, water, shelter, medical supplies and water and sanitation equipment already in place. Humanitarian workers of the UN system and INGOs recognise and praise the Government’s proactive preventive measures ahead of the storm for the lower loss and damage than initially anticipated.

The Government of Vietnam has remained in control of the situation throughout and is unlikely to request for international assistance. However, the UN System remains in close contact with the authorities and other humanitarian partners, and stands ready to support if needed, said the release.-VNA