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VietNamNews

Better system will help improve flood forecasts

Update: June, 21/2012 - 10:39

HA NOI — A new forecasting system set to begin operation later this year aims to better prepare people across the country for floods.

The system uses data from satellites and ground-based rainfall data to improve flood forecasts, especially in parts of the country that don't have rainfall measurement stations.

Dr Kazuhiko Fukami, a senior researcher at the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management in Japan, said the system's concise flood-runoff analysis developed by the centre served as a tool kit for more effective and efficient flood forecasting in developing countries.

Satellite data is combined with ground-based rainfall data and information on river systems, rainfall run-off analysis and geographical characteristics to provide more accurate forecasts.

Dr Tran Thuc, director general of the Viet Nam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment (IMHEN), said while the country relied on rainfall data to forecast floods, many areas lacked rainfall gauge stations. This limited forecasts, especially in central provinces where flash floods occurred. Some forecasts could only be made several hours before flood hit.

He said the new system based on various data resources would help experts give much earlier forecasts.

Experts from Government institutions, research organisations and universities involved in flood forecasting in the country were participating in a training course held by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and IMHEN to learn about the new system, said Thuc.

The first trial of this system would be implemented along the Vu Gia and Thu Bon river basins in central provinces this week.

Bui Xuan Duc, director of the National Hydro-meteorological Service under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said hydro-meteorological forecasting played an important role in natural disaster mitigation, so the system would help minimise losses due to floods.

The recent heavy rains and floods in late May claimed eight lives in the northern provinces of Yen Bai, Cao Bang, Quang Ninh, Son La and Thanh Hoa.

Meanwhile, the death toll from weeks of severe flooding in Viet Nam last November reached 100, while thousands of houses and many hectares of rice and subsidiary crops were destroyed. — VNS

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