Integrated strategy can facilitate Vietnam’s management of disaster risks

Friday, 2017-10-13 10:14:20
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The conference on disaster risk management in Vietnam
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NDO - Vietnam would be able to mitigate natural disaster risks by implementing an integrated management strategy, said experts at a conference jointly held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the World Bank on October 13.

The conference attracted more than 200 delegates in order to discuss policy options aimed at mitigating the impact of disasters, especially those related to institutional capacity and financing solutions.

Vietnam is highly prone to natural disasters, with over 70% of its population exposed to risks from natural hazards, according to the World Bank, adding that climate change is projected to increase the impact of disasters, especially in terms of the timing, frequency, severity, and intensity of hydro-meteorological events on the country.

Over the past two decades, disasters in Vietnam have caused more than 13,000 deaths, in addition to property damage estimated to be in excess of US$6.4 billion.

Disasters erode up to 1.5% of Vietnam’s gross domestic product each year and in the event of a major disaster, this figure can go as high as 4% of GDP.

The annual death toll due to natural disasters is over 300.

Last month, flash floods and landslides struck the northern region, resulting in 44 dead or missing, and economic losses of US$55 million, and subsequently Typhoon Doksuri caused 9 deaths, destroyed 193,000 houses, and losses of up to US$385 million in central Vietnam.

And most recently, torrential rains in the northern and central provinces have caused water levels to reach record heights, with more than 80 people reported to be either dead or missing, and have caused tremendous economic losses.

MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong stated that a holistic approach is needed, besides traditional methods, in disaster risk management, which should be integrated into the socio-economic development plans of localities and agencies.

The World Bank’s acting head in Vietnam Achim Fock said that the country has already made considerable efforts to respond to climate disaster risks but even further efforts are required.

He warned that natural disasters can undo decades of development and the costs of rebuilding can often be higher than the costs of investment in disaster resilience.

Vietnam faces several key challenges in disaster risk management, including institutional fragmentation, ineffective processes for coordinated sectoral planning, and the absence of a cost-effective strategy for financial protection.

At the conference, delegates discussed the options to address the challenges, including clarifying and consolidating disaster risk management responsibilities across all agencies and establishing robust systems for disaster preparation and response.

Global best practices show that effective planning and implementation begin with the correct policies and the conference demonstrated this with examples in disaster risk management across countries and sectors.