|Erosion caused by flash flood in the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai's Bát Xát District between July 3 and 5. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The northern mountainous region is set to experience extreme and unpredictable weather from now until the end of the year, requiring local governments to prepare to respond to and minimise damage caused by natural disasters, an official has said.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường, also deputy head of the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control, made the statement at a conference held on Monday in Lao Cai Province.
Cường said increasing frequent flash floods, landslides, thunderstorms, lightning and hail have caused heavy losses of life and property.
The committee asked localities to inspect and ensure the safety of residential areas along rivers and streams and those near flood-prone and mining areas.
Illegal mining and gathering firewood displaced by the floods must be banned.
Localities must review scenarios and response plans to be ready to deal with natural disasters, he said.
Trần Quang Hoài, deputy head of the committee, said that these types of weather events frequently occurred in northern mountainous areas, greatly affecting the lives of locals.
Since the beginning of this year, 92 natural disasters have happened, including thunderstorms, whirlwinds, hail and flash floods.
As many as 29 people have been killed and 79 others injured. More than 53,600 houses were collapsed or unroofed and 10,000 hectares of crops were submerged, causing a loss of VNĐ610 billion (US$26.3 million).
Last year, 42 people were killed, 19,180 houses were damaged and 11,530 hectares of crops were submerged due to disasters. Total damages reached VNĐ753 billion ($32.5 million).
Hoài said a shortage of information and a lack of natural disaster prevention and control skills among the community were the main reasons for the increasing damages.
The forecast, weather warning and monitoring still faced many difficulties due to the downgraded infrastructure system, which lacked connection with prevention work.
The management and operation of small reservoirs and hydroelectricity remained ineffective, increasing the risk of heavy rains and floods. A shortage of specialised equipment to access affected locations and conduct the search and rescue of victims was another problem.
The monitoring of natural disasters and exploiting databases for advice for the prevention and overcoming the consequences of natural disasters was not timely and effective, he added.
At the conference, Cường said high-tech and analytical techniques must be prioritised to make reliable forecasts on natural disasters.
He said it was necessary to focus investment on facilities, monitoring networks and training on human resources to meet practical requirements.
Cường stressed the importance of dissemination, especially timely information to have better response plans in forecasting, responding and overcoming consequences of natural disasters. — VNS
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