May, 22 2010 09:29:33

Da Nang prepares for impact of climate change

DA NANG — Strategic plans are being made in Da Nang to adapt to climate change at a time when the central city is particularly vulnerable.

Thai Van Quang, an official from the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said yesterday that the plans included incorporating climate change into the city's master plan until 2025.

They were also designed to improve natural disaster warning systems, develope funds for post-disaster support, and enhance people's awareness of environmental protection.

Natural calamities that most affect the city are storms, floods, drought, sea and river shore erosion, and salt water penetration.

According to Quang, there have been 21 typhoons in the city since 1998 while there was an average of only one per year before that.

On average, 500ha of rice, 200ha of aquaculture areas and 10,000ha of forest face high risks of fire during dry seasons, he said, while around 700ha of land are penetrated by salt water every year.

Quang said the ever increasing problems are having a significant impact on the city's electricity, water, traffic and irrigation systems as well as people's health.

Farmers and fishermen are most affected.

The city is working with the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies, US-based Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET), and Britain's Challenge to Change to develop its strategy.

Pilot programmes include a US$25,000 project, under which trees were planted in coastal areas and fishermen were supplied with communications equipment as means of natural disaster alert.

"I think the main issue for the city is that it is developing rapidly and building a lot of infrastructure," ISET senior associate Stephen Tyler said.

"So it's very important that key city agencies seriously think about the impacts of climate change in the future so that their investments will stay safe in the long term," he said, adding that a co-ordination mechanism should be established.

Da Nang is one of three Vietnamese localities selected by the Rockefeller Foundation to be parts of a network of ten Asian cities that are resilient to climate change, according to Tyler.

Two other domestic cities, Quy Nhon and Can Tho, are also building strategies for climate change adaptation and preparing proposals for funding, he said. — VNS

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