Vietnam loses 860 million USD to natural disasters last year hinh anh 1A mass of earth and rocks caused by a landslide blocks a road linking northern Lai Chau and Lao Cai provinces on July 11 (Photo: VNA)

Ca Mau (VNA) – Vietnam recorded 224 persons dead and missing and economic losses of nearly 20 trillion VND (859.5 million USD) in natural disasters in 2018, according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

At a meeting in the southernmost province of Ca Mau, the committee said although natural disasters last year were not as severe as in 2017, many serious ones and extreme weather conditions still occurred nationwide.

In the southern region alone, 441 riverbank and coastal erosions with a total length of over 834km caused 10 people dead and missing, injured 13 others, pulled down 320 houses and damaged more than 17,500 others.

Total losses caused by natural disasters here approximated 118 billion VND.

Vice Chairman of the Ca Mau People’s Committee Le Van Su said his province has been seriously affected by climate change, including abnormal storms, tropical depressions, whirlwinds, sea-level rise and drought.

Since the beginning of 2018, natural disasters, especially whirlwind and tidal surge, have triggered riverbank and coastal erosions, killing seven people, damaging over 1,600 houses, and flooding more than 2,400ha of crops. Total property losses have topped 57 billion VND, he noted.

At the meeting, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen said natural disasters and climate change are the issues that require close coordination among ministries and provinces to be dealt with. The Mekong Delta is an example of natural disaster and climate change impact.

She added the UNDP wishes to enhance cooperation with the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and the country’s Disaster Management Authority to carry out many activities to help build a more sustainable and prosperous Vietnam.

Highlighting tasks to prepare for the approaching stormy season, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Hoang Hiep said southern localities need to accelerate the construction of facilities that are meant to deal with riverbank and coastal erosion; and upgrade sea dykes, bridges, saltwater intrusion preventing culverts and dams, anti-flooding facilities and irrigation systems.

It is also necessary to boost cooperation with foreign partners and countries along the Mekong River in natural disaster prevention and control, particularly in fighting cross-border flooding and adapting to climate change, the official said.-VNA