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Typhoons caused $297 million losses, forecast system needs improvement

Update: August, 09/2016 - 09:00
The first two typhoons to hit Việt Nam this year have caused damage worth more than VNĐ6.7 trillion (US$297.7 million), announced the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) yesterday. — Photo soha.vn

HÀ NỘI – The first two typhoons to hit Việt Nam this year have caused damage worth more than VNĐ6.7 trillion (US$297.7 million), announced the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) yesterday.

Typhoons Mirinae and Nida hit the Southeast Asian nation in late July and early August respectively, causing 20 people to die or go missing and injuring another 82.

Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng said in an online cabinet meeting on the typhoons’ damage yesterday that the main reason for the huge losses was shortcomings in weather forecasting.

The Central Meteorological Forecast Centre (CMFC) Director Hoàng Đức Cường acknowledged that forecast reports failed to predict the exact localities hit by Typhoon Mirinae or the unusually prolonged strong winds.

“No meteorological centres in Việt Nam are able to project it (the wind pattern change) and this is a weakness of the typhoon forecasting technology,” he said.

Ninh Bình Province was one of those heavily struck by Typhoon Mirinae, yet it was not included in the emergency meeting between 12 coastal localities from Quảng Ninh to Nam Định Provinces where the CMFC predicted the typhoon would hit, reported the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention’s Office.

MARD Minister Nguyễn Xuân Cường said that disaster forecasting needed improvement, both in equipment as well as personnel training.

“International co-operation should also be strengthened for more reliable forecasts,” he said.

Cường also asked for a rice seed reserve in the northern lowland region to prepare for any future storms.

“As the Hồng (Red) river delta is prone to storms and typhoons, we must have at least five per cent of rice seeds reserved for disasters,” he said.

“If we follow that principle we will no longer struggle to resume production after floods recede.”

The storms flooded nearly 256,000ha of agricultural land in the affected localties, according to MARD.

The power infrastructure, meanwhile, also experienced problems during Typhoon Mirinae, Cường said.

More than 31,000 power poles fell across affected localities in the storm, disproportionately in Nam Định Province with nearly 24,000 poles falling. Damages to the electricity sector were estimated at about VNĐ384 billion ($17 million), according to MARD’s report.

“There must have a reason behind such mass power pole collapse. It could be the poles’ low quality or some other cause, but it is urgent to thoroughly inspect the whole power infrastructure,” Deputy PM said. – VNS

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