Longer heat waves and strong storms are forecast to hit Vietnam in coming years, with long summer monsoon in the northern region to decrease, heard this year's third National Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation held in Hanoi on October 10.

The director of the Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment, Tran Thuc, said the number of hot days each year will hit 45 until 2050, with the current number at 34.

It may even reach 60-95 days per year by 2100, Thuc said, adding that hot days were typically those with a daily temperature higher than 35 degrees Celsius.

Thuc said both the duration and frequency of heat waves would rise across the entire country by 2100, particularly in the Central Highland and southern regions.

In the meantime, the number of severe storms with wind speeds between 103-133km per hour would also increase, he said, adding that the duration of the summer monsoon would shorten by 10 to 21 days in the north-central region.

"The first summer monsoon will come to northern provinces about 12 days later by 2100 than presently. It might also fall in the middle of June," he said.

For their part, authorities have sprung into action to mitigate higher natural disaster risks and implement measures to adapt to climate change.

Deputy head of the Science, Technology and Environment Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Dinh Vu Thanh said methods to conserve water and energy had been applied to farming and livestock rearing since 2011, including irrigation, biogas and watershed mechanisms in the local community.

The ministry's General Department of Water Resources has so far provided training courses for nearly 1,000 province-level teachers on natural disaster risks in all the 63 provinces and cities following public awareness and risk management project approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2009.

An additional 100 district-level teachers would also be trained in 2014, said Nguyen Huu Phuc, from the water resources department. Knowledge of natural disaster risks would also make its way into the school curriculum in future, he added.

Vietnam has gradually increased its efforts to mitigate the risk of natural disasters since the development of the National Strategy on Natural Disaster Prevention, Response and Mitigation four years ago, said Deputy chief of the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control, Van Phu Chinh, on October 10.

The number of people killed by natural disasters has been reduced by nearly 8 percent (approximately 162 persons) between 2008-2012, he said.

Meanwhile, financial support for reducing natural disasters has nearly doubled, reaching around 286 trillion VND (13.4 million USD), Chinh said.

Forest regeneration has also increased to nearly 40 percent, up from 37.5 percent in 2006, he said.

In the past four years, around 1,000 flood-proof residential clusters had been built to protect 165,000 households in central regions and the Mekong Delta, he added.

"The 13th National Assembly approving the Law on Natural Disaster Prevention, was an important milestone which will take effect in May 2014."

However, participants at the meeting said Vietnam still faced many challenges in completely reducing the risks of natural disasters and adapting to climate change – a critical element being to raise public awareness.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai urged for greater protection from climate change by enhancing forecasting activities. He added that raising public awareness of natural disasters would make it easier to address the risks of natural disasters in Vietnam.-VNA