A Vietnamese senior official emphasised that Vietnam sees investment in prevention as the focus of its natural disaster management, along with response and mitigation as critical to ensuring sustainable development.

At the Vietnam National Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Hanoi on October 7, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said in Vietnam the State and people work together in preventing and combating natural disasters.

The work involves the effective use of State funds and the mobilisation of all resources from the community, local and foreign individuals and organisations, the Deputy PM stressed.

He told the participants that “ Vietnam promotes the integration of disaster mitigation into regional, business sector and national socio-economic development.”

The Vietnamese leader also pointed out that the country has engaged in productive cooperation with the international community in disaster mitigation as well as adaptation to climate change over the years.

Vietnam has co-signed and implemented the Kyoto Protocol and the UN’s Framework Treaty on Climate Change, the Hyodo Framework for Action, and the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.

Speaking at the opening of the forum, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlstrom, commended Vietnam ’s increasing efforts and investment in weather-related issues.

She hailed this forum as a “shining example” of Vietnam ’s commitment at the highest levels to the imperative of risk reduction.

While reiterating “the time for talking is over, and the time for action has come”, the UN official also pointed to the necessity to integrate effectively across sectors, between government and civil society, and scientific and policy communities, along with sharing experience so each country can adopt appropriate measures on the issue.

Participating in the forum, Australian Ambassador Allaster Cox cited studies saying that for every single USD spent in investing in disaster risk reduction, around seven USD are saved in avoided or reduced disaster response and recovery costs.

The diplomat appreciated Vietnam ’s target of deploying Community-Based Disaster Risk Management to over 6,000 communes by 2020 and asserted his government’s pledge to work with the country in this undertaking.

Upon hearing of the tragic loss of life, as well as damage to property and infrastructure, caused by Typhoon Ketsana in Vietnam , Australia announced a commitment of 1 million USD to support the Vietnam Red Cross and NGOs operating on the ground to provide critical services to those affected.

Over the past five years, natural disasters have claimed the lives of about 400 people and resulted in economic losses of 1-1.5 percent of the nation’s GDP annually.

In the first nine months of this year, the toll of dead and missing from such disasters reached 292, including 174 in Typhoon Ketsana. Economic losses in the period are estimated at 24 trillion VND, with more than half (14 trillion VND) caused by Ketsana.

According to the World Bank, climate change will cost Vietnam dearly, with its Red River Delta and Mekong Delta regions completely submerged under water.

If the seawater level rises by 1 metre, around 10 percent of Vietnam ’s population will be affected and the country will lose about 10 percent of its GDP. If the level rises by 3 metres, 25 percent of the Vietnamese population will suffer the direct effects and the nation will face a loss of 25 percent of its GDP./.