Wednesday, December 08, 2021, 06:22 (GMT+7)

Wednesday, October 06, 2021, 09:19 (GMT+7)
The Provincial Military Command of Quang Nam proactively responds to natural disasters and epidemics prior to the typhoon season

Quang Nam province is located in the South Central Coast. Three quarters of its total area is mountainous, with three main regions. The mountainous region stretches from the West to the East, with a steep gradient. The flat region runs along the coast, while the midland region follows low-lying areas. The province has complex weather, climate, and hydrology conditions, together with many large rivers flowing from the West to the East, such as Vu Gia and Thu Bon. Hence, Quang Nam is more frequently hit by storms and floods, compared to other provinces nationwide. In the typhoon season, water level rises from 0.5m to 2m. For many times, floods have drowned and destroyed many houses and public facilities, and taken many people’s lives. Heavy rains also put reservoirs at the risk of being broken. On a yearly basis, the province has to suffer from 5 to 7 storms and floods with their serious consequences. In 2020 alone, Quang Nam was hit by a series of typhoons, heavy rains, and landslides causing severe human and material losses. More seriously, 5 landslides in Tra Leng and Tra Van communes (Nam Tra My district), Tra Tan commune (Bac Tra My district), and Phuoc Loc commune (Phuoc Son district) claimed 30 lives and left 17 people missing. 

Being fully aware of the impacts made by natural disasters, over the years, the Provincial Military Command (PMC) has promoted its core role in natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue. It has given advice to the Provincial People’s Committee and the Provincial Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Command on issuing many directing documents. It has proactively developed and practised plans/projects for natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue. It has closely worked with local party committees, authorities, and forces to opportunely respond to natural disasters and incidents. In 2020, it deployed 38,500 people, evacuated over 93,000 citizens from 38,500 households to safe places, and actively taken part in search and rescue and natural disaster mitigation. It cooperated with the Flight Division 372 in transporting 43 tons of supplies by land to the isolated communes of Phuoc Loc and Phuoc Thanh (Phuoc Son district). Also, it actively mobilised many social resources to help the people overcome the consequences of natural disasters and stabilise the people’s life.

Rescuing the people during a flood

The typhoon season of 2021 is forecast to be complex together with the unpredictable developments of COVID-19 pandemic. To proactively respond to natural disasters, the PMC has implemented many practical measures synchronously as follows.

First of all, it has grasped and strictly executed higher echelons’ directives, decisions, and regulations, with a focus on raising the awareness and responsibility of cadres, soldiers, and particularly party committees and commands for natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue as “a combat mission in peacetime.” Great value has been attached to rendering troops fully aware of advantages, difficulties, and possible situations and building up their determination and spirit of “serving the people” and “sacrificing for the people” during natural disasters and search and rescue. The PMC has proactively designed projects to protect its barracks, technical equipment, stations, depots, and assets prior to the typhoon season, while maintaining its force and means to readily help local authorities and citizens with natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue when being ordered. Offices and units have proactively included search and rescue in the basic training programme for troops under the General Staff’s Decision 315/QĐ-TM, dated March 11th, 2009, with importance attached to training troops to swim for rescuing people, give first aid, and evacuate citizens, equipment, and materials out of the areas hit by storms and floods. Due attention has been paid to organising intensive training courses for the mobile force and improving this force’s manoeuvrability and capability in mastering equipment and means of rescue to deal with situations during natural disasters.

The PMC has carefully made preparations and heightened a sense of proactiveness in any situation. Emphasis has been placed on designing, reviewing, adjusting, completing, practising plans/projects for coordination in natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue. Consideration has been given to consolidating the all-level boards on natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue, with specific tasks being assigned to each member. Besides, the PMC has focused on monitoring, analysing, and predicting natural disasters and incidents in each area as the basis for deploying personnel and opportunely, effectively settling regular situations and contingencies.

In the force building, due attention has been paid to alternately deploying the standing force, the militia and self-defence force, and the reserve force. At provincial level, three natural disaster prevention and control commands and one mobile search and rescue team would be established. Each affiliate of the PMC would be assigned to found one search and rescue team during floods and another one during landslides (including 15 to 25 staff members), while other detachments would build themselves into a search and rescue team under the PMC’s direct management during storms and floods. Grounded on the structure of local units and the reserve force, each district-level military command would establish two search and rescue teams during floods and landslides, while each commune would found one natural disaster prevention and control team. Moreover, each district would build a reserve company ready for rescue in the event. When storms and floods reach the level 2 warning, headquarters would be activated to directly command forces in different directions.

Due regard has been paid to preparing materials, particularly maintaining means and equipment for manoeuvre, storm and flood prevention and control, and rescue at each level under regulations. Emphasis has been placed on providing equipment and means, such as canoes, tents, and life jackets for the localities regularly hit by floods and reserving sufficient such equipment to readily assist other localities. Due attention has been paid to maintaining sufficient vehicles, canoes, and vessels for natural disaster prevention and control. Food and drinking water have also been reserved under regulations. Localities, units, and particularly the mobile force have frequently guaranteed enough food for a week. They have also been required to well implement the “four on-the-spot” motto, mobilise all forces, means, and facilities for rescue under the spirit of “saving the people first, assets later” in order to minimise human and material losses.

Considering prevention as the most important measure and advocating rapid, effective response to storms and floods, the PMC has proactively anticipated situations and designed responsive scenarios. In this regard, it has categorised 5 groups of natural disasters possibly occurring in the province, namely storm and flood, flash flood and landslide, cyclone and hail, and earthquake and tsunami. It has also identified different degrees and periods of such natural disasters to develop proper responsive scenarios, while dividing the province into regions according to types of natural disasters. Besides, it has formulated projects to use personnel and means properly and gain the initiative during natural disasters and incidents. More importantly, it has directed its offices and units to frequently examine roads so that they would be ready to manoeuvre for search and rescue. It has proactively cooperated with the Flight Division 372 in surveying, constructing, and managing helipads for natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue within the province’s districts. It has frequently maintained a good relationship with the province’s departments, committees, and sectors to gather information about natural disasters and incidents and adopt remedial measures opportunely. It has closely cooperated with units of the Ministry of National Defence and the Military Region 4 in working towards projects to use their forces and means, thereby avoiding overlapping responsibility and confusion. It has collaborated with the Provincial Department of Health, the Provincial General Hospital, and local health centres in preparing sufficient medical equipment and medicine for rescuing the people. It has cooperated with the Public Security Force in conducting patrols to ensure political security and social order and safety within the province as well as protect reservoirs and hydroelectricity plants. The militia and self-defence force within border and coastal areas has worked with border guard posts to patrol their areas under coordination plans.

In addition, projects for natural disaster and COVID-19 prevention, control, and adaptation have been actively implemented by the PMC’s offices and units. More specifically, they have proactively advised local authorities, sectors, and organisations on preparing zones and projects for evacuating the people. In the process, communes and districts would be separated from one another to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Besides, cooperation has been closely maintained to develop projects on mobilisation of personnel and means on the spot for rescue and settlement of consequences of natural disasters right at grass-roots level, while regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control have been closely executed during this work. Significance has been attached to sufficiently preparing medical equipment and medicine and fully vaccinating the front-line force to ensure the safety of its members

The PMC has always been aware that the successful fulfilment of the task of natural disaster and epidemic prevention and control will definitely contribute to not only lessening human and material losses, but also cementing the close-knit bond between the Military and the people and building a firm “posture of people’s hearts and minds” in the Homeland construction and protection.

Col. LE TRUNG THANH, Member of the Provincial Party Committee Standing Board

Commander of the PMC

1. On-the-spot command, on-the-spot personnel, on-the-spot means, and on-the-spot logistics 

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