|A severe flood hit Bùi Xá Village in Hà Nội’s Chương Mỹ District in July.— VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thắng|
HÀ NỘI — Natural disasters have killed 218 people and caused a total loss of VNĐ20 trillion (US$860 million) to the country this year.
Although the number of fatalities and damage was much lower than both in 2016 and 2017, natural disasters have still caused serious destruction to the country this year.
Nguyễn Xuân Cường, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development cum head of the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disasters Prevention and Control, made the statement at a meeting yesterday.
The meeting was organised to summarise the achievements and failures of natural-disaster management this year as well as setting tasks for next year.
Statistics from the ministry showed that natural disasters killed 386 people and caused damage of nearly VNĐ60 trillion ($2.58 billion) in 2017. In 2016, 264 people died and damage of nearly VNĐ 40 trillion ($1.72 billion) was recorded.
Speaking at the meeting, deputy head of the committee’s Việt Nam Disaster Management Authority, Nguyễn Trường Sơn, said 13 typhoons, 14 flash floods, four extreme cold spells, 11 heat waves and 30 torrential rain storms along with a series of high tides in southern provinces had been recorded this year.
Sơn said although the authority had applied high-tech forecasting technology, shortcomings remained.
For example, the authority had installed an observation system to warn mountainous areas of torrential rain, applied remote sensing technology in dyke management and piloted a Geotube seawall to prevent salinity in Bến Tre Province, he said.
These solutions were new for Việt Nam, and had the potential to prevent natural disasters, he said.
However, Sơn added forecasting of torrential rains, flash floods and landslides was still not up to scratch.
Sơn gave an example of a landslide that left 18 dead in November in the south-central province of Nha Trang. The number of dead could have been much lower if the local administration had seriously implemented forecasting and supervision to mitigate the risks of natural disasters, he said.
In the meantime, minister Cường ordered the central steering committee on natural disaster prevention and control as well as localities to conduct an overall inspection of forecasting, warning and remedying natural disasters.
Cường also said forecasting centres across the country had been told to check both their equipment and human resources and fix where necessary. — VNS