October, 15 2012 09:05:56

Online forum eyes disaster preparedness


Locals work together in the aftermath of a landslide in the Central Highland province of Kon Tum's Dak Ha District.— VNA/VNS Photo Sy Thang
HA NOI (VNS)— Saving lives and managing major disasters dominated the agenda during yesterday's online dialogue on the Government web portal, as users discussed the best ways to safeguard people and their property during storms and earthquakes.

Nguyen Ngoc Quang, Standing Vice Chairman of central Quang Nam Province - one of the most affected areas of natural disasters - said ensuring the safety of local residents and their possessions has been the province's top priority.

For example, before the seventh storm of this year, Gaemi, caused a landslide in the province earlier this month, the local authority had already scrambled teams to storm-prone areas and set up a steering committee on storm prevention and control in the badly-affected Dai Loc District. It also re-examined the operation of communication equipment to vessels and evacuated roughly 38,000 households to safe places.

The province also held training courses for grassroots staff to teach local residents essential skills for protecting their property, such as harvesting crops and storing their valuables before the storm approached.

Major general Nguyen Quy Nhon, deputy commander of the Military Zone 5 and head of its Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Rescue in the central region and the Central Highlands, said the committee sent two groups to the storm-hit Binh Dinh and Quang Nam provinces and two more to its headquarters to prepare and direct locals for any situation.

A round-the-clock rescue office hotline was also established in Quang Nam Province, he added.

To guarantee the safety of the electricity network, deputy director of Electricity of Vietnam Tran Van Duoc affirmed the corporation always gave instructions and assigned all units at all levels to manage the electrical supply before and after storms, including replacing broken parts of the system, establishing hot lines for reactions.

In reply to claims that a substandard electricity network in the province's Binh Tri Commune was threatening locals' safety, Duoc said the provincial electricity company had yet to receive the electricity network from a local company as per the Government's requirements.

He said the corporation would check the system and consider the priority to upgrade it when they received the system.

Since 2008, the EVN has taken under its wing rural electricity networks of about 5,740 communes to ensure stable and good transmission quality. The corporation plans to carry out the job for the remaining 1,740 communes by 2015.

With regards to the broken Dakrong 3 Hydro-power Plant dam in central Quang Tri Province's Ta Long Commune, Duoc said the dam was under construction and all reservoirs must follow strict operation processes as required. These include building a network of inter-connected reservoirs, checking discharge gates and reporting to authorised agencies.

"I'm not sure the plant has got its operation process, but it's more likely that it just temporarily operated," he said.

The province is currently estimating the loss.

The risk of a broken dam in Quang Nam Province's Song Tranh 2 Hydro-power Plant was also mentioned.

Quang, Standing Vice Chairman of central Quang Nam Province affirmed that the level of water in the dam fell from the dead level of 140 metres - the safe level that would be maintained throughout this year.

He said the scenario of evacuating affected households had been prepared in case the water level increased to 170 metres, but confirmed that the risk of the dam breaking was negligible.

"We, together with the EVN, have surveyed affected areas and committed to helping locals stablising their lives. The district authority will work with locals to set up a team to evaluate the losses," he said.

Quang said the province has trained staff of Bac Tra My District in earthquake management, a new issue for both the authority and local people.

"How to prepare and react towards earthquakes remains a problem," he added. Most local people are quite anxious."

He said the responsibility of the local authority and plant investor was to survey, research and use scientific evidence to ensure the safety of the dam and ease local people's concerns.

Approximately 31,000 people in four districts of Bac Tra My, Nong Son, Tien Phuoc and Hiep Duc would be at risk if the dam did break. — VNS

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