HA NOI (VNS) As many as 13 tropical storms will reach the East Sea –with half of them likely to hit Viet Nam, said Bui Minh Tang, director of the National Hydro Meteorological Forecast Centre.
During a meeting to review last year's flood prevention and rescue activities, Tang warned that this year's rainy season would see many dangerous developments.
He urged localities to take action to prevent strong storms, flash floods and landslides in the northern mountainous regions and Central Highlands.
Drought in the central and southern provinces will likely ease by the end of August, the director said.
Four of the 10 storms that hit the East Sea last year caused severe consequences to Vietnamese people and property, according to the National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control.
Natural disasters resulted in 258 people dead and missing and wounded 408 people. Losses reached about VND16 trillion (US$762 million).
Nguyen Viet Hung, deputy chairman of the northern province of Nam Dinh's People's Committee, said that it was necessary to install more observation stations in order to be able to predict and respond to floods and storms in a more efficient and timely fashion.
"We hope to receive more investment from the Government and related agencies for facilities offering climate and hydro meteorological forecasting and helping localities respond to natural disasters," Hung said.
Lieutenant-general Tran Quang Khue, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnamese People's Army and deputy head of the National Search and Rescue Committee, emphasised the need to step up inspections of fishing ships.
"We should not allow ships that fail to meet technical standards and lack contacting equipment to go to sea," he said.
Currently, ships are not even required to provide life-jackets, according to Khue.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, who is also the head of the National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control, asked relevant agencies and localities to ensure that rescue equipment was available and that enterprises and households were aware of contingency plans for floods.
Irrigation projects such as dykes and reservoirs, in addition to electricity and communication systems, must also be strengthened before the rainy season came, Phat said.
Do Quang Vinh, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Flood Prevention and Search and Rescue Board, said local agencies must co-operate more closely with hydro-power plants in their areas to manage the water level in reservoirs and control floods. — VNS