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Experts suggest storm warnings via text messages

Update: June, 18/2015 - 08:45
Last Saturday's storm uprooted many of the new trees planted in Ha Noi, revealing their roots were wrapped in nylon sheets. — Photo anh360.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Climate experts have proposed using text messages to warn people about storms to limit losses.

The proposal followed a storm that occurred at 5pm in Ha Noi last Saturday, killing two people and felling 1,290 trees.

Le Thanh Hai, deputy director of the National Centre for Hydro Meteorological Forecasting, told Tien phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the centre had run warning subtitles on Viet Nam Television about the thunderstorm at 4.20pm.

However, many residents said it was not enough.

Tran Manh Cuong, a resident in Hai Ba Trung District, said that at that time he was on the road, so he could not see the subtitles on the TV.

"Why didn't the centre broadcast the warning message on the loudspeaker system for residents and commuters?" said Cuong.

Tran Minh Hoang, another resident in Cau Giay District, said that he had seen the warning subtitles, but it did not include the level of the thunderstorm so he drove anyway.

"It wasn't until I saw a tree uprooted in front of me that I decided to stop and take shelter from the rain," said Hoang.

Pham Van Duc, former deputy director of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, said that many countries around the world used SMS messages to warn residents before storms hit, and residents would pay for the service.

The service could be applied in Viet Nam, he said.

But, short warning message could have errors.

Bui Quoc Viet, director of the Information and Public Relations Centre under the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), said that it was possible to send warning messages to a mass of customers about 1-3 hours before a storm.

VNPT could work with the National Centre for Hydro Meteorological Forecasting to discuss the services.

Small trees

In another development, Professor Dang Huy Huynh, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Association for Conversation of Nature and Environment, said that it would have been impossible to stop the storm from uprooting trees last Saturday.

Trees with wide caponys and shallow roots should not be planted in an urban area like Ha Noi, he said.

Ha Noi should plant small, deep-rooted trees to withstand storms.

Nguyen Lan Hung, general secretary of the Viet Nam Union of Biology Associations, said that three factors should be considered when planting a tree: safety, shade and flowers.

Nylon-wrapping

Ha Noi authorities are looking into why the roots of new trees in the city did not have the nylon wrapping removed before they were planted.

This was announced by the municipal Construction Department's Deputy Director Vo Nguyen Phong at a briefing of the Ha Noi Party Committee yesterday.

Several newly planted trees were part of a tree replacement plan that was carried out in March. The plan aimed at felling 6,700 old trees and replacing them with new ones. However, the plan was halted due to public pressure.

Saturday's storm uprooted many of the new trees, revealing their roots were completely wrapped in nylon sheets.

The finding triggered instant uproar online, with many netizens questioning why authorities had planted trees that would not be able to grow. They also questioned the dedication of the Ha Noi Park and Green Tree Company, which is in charge of the tree planting work.

Phong noted that a thorough inspection and assessment by experts was needed to decide whether nylon wrappings could affect the growth of trees.

"We need time to examine all of the trees. The results will be publicised as and when it is available," Phong added.

Despite a recent plan to trim rotten trees in preparation for storms, numerous unattended large trees toppled in the storm.

The deputy director argued that the failure to detect rotten trees was due to outdated visual inspections employed by the company in charge.

"The workers at the Ha Noi Park and Green Tree Company can only observe the exterior of trees, while the interior of the trees must be assessed by experts," he said.

Regarding the clean up work following the storm, Phong said that the job was "basically finished". — VNS

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