Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam Red Cross (VRC) has conducted its first-ever all-level disaster response drill to better prepare for natural calamities in 2016.

This formed part of a conference in Hanoi on August 17, with the participation of representatives from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), VRC’s international partners and relevant sectors.

VRC Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said the annual conference aims to update and review the organisation’s preparation for natural calamities and its emergency response capabilities.

In the drill, a simulation scenario featured a storm as strong as the 2013 super-typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall in the central provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, and Da Nang city, causing huge losses of life and property.

The practice included updating information on damage and reporting to the central-level agencies, and launching the response mechanism at the central level before, during and after the hurricane.

Other activities involved communication work to enhance public awareness of natural disasters and mobilising international and domestic resources for recovery.

Previously on August 15-16, the VRC updated the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on the standardised skills on disaster prevention and response.

Training courses on assessing damage and the community’s needs, recovery and rescue work as well as relevant international practices were also held.

As a member of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, over the past year, the VRC has helped raise the awareness of natural disaster prevention and response among communities and schools.

The organisation has also been active in planting mangrove forests to mitigate risks at shorelines and establishing disaster response teams at all levels, among others.

Since early this year, it has organised activities to address extreme cold spells in the north as well as drought and saltwater intrusion in the Central, Central Highlands and the Mekong Delta regions.

It has provided financial aid, water containers and Aquatab water purification tablets to nearly 42,500 households in 18 drought and salinity affected localities.-VNA