Saturday, November 18, 2017, 02:22 (GMT+7)

Friday, August 18, 2017, 14:34 (GMT+7)
Be proactive in preventing and controlling natural disasters in the new situation

Vietnam is among the countries heavily impacted by climate change and natural disasters. Thus, importance has been attached to natural disaster prevention and control by the Party, the State, sectors and forces to make contribution to stabilizing people’s life and the country’s development.

An online meeting of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control on responding to storm No.4 (2017) (photo: VNA)

Due to global climate change, over the past years, natural disasters in our country have become extremely complicated and unpredictable. In many regions and areas of the country, there have appeared types of abnormal natural disasters, such as typhoons, supertyphoons, flooding, floods after floods in Central Region, long-lasting droughts in the South Central and Central Highlands, salinity intrusion and landslides in river and coastal areas in Mekong River Delta, and cold weather in the North. Natural disasters have impacted on people’s life, socioeconomic development, defence and security, public health and ecological environment. In 2016 alone, natural disasters caused damage to the country estimated at nearly 40,000 billion VND. To effectively prevent, control and respond to abnormal developments of natural disasters, Prime Minister has directed the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, National Committee for Search and Rescue, ministries, sectors and localities to proactively adopt measures. With the active participation of the whole political system, forces and the people, especially the direction of the Government, the work of natural disaster prevention and control has gained significant results.

However, there have been limitations in this work. Awareness and responsibility of a proportion of cadres, party members and people towards this work has yet to be full. Information of people about natural disasters has not been timely; facilities, equipment, knowledge and skills of a several forces and localities for natural disaster prevention and management, search and rescue have not been adequate yet. Most of cadres tasked with natural disaster prevention and control are holding various multiple positions and thus not professional enough.

In the time to come, our country’s climate and weather condition will continue to be complex and unpredictable. Therefore, ministries, sectors and localities should synchronously adopt the main measures as follows. 

First, proactively preventing natural disasters to minimize human and material losses. Ministries, sectors and localities should seriously grasp the Central Resolution No.7 (11th tenure) on proactive response to climate change, enhanced management of natural resources and protection of environment; Law on natural disaster prevention and control; National Strategy for natural disaster prevention, response and mitigation to 2020. It is necessary to raise awareness of cadres, party members and all people towards prevention of natural disasters. This is an important issue in both long and short term as our country is being heavily impacted by global climate change and under pressure of socioeconomic development. Alongside short-term training courses for cadres and forces in charge of natural disaster prevention and control, there is a need to put this into the school curriculum and timely inform the people, particularly those living in remote, isolated areas of the upcoming natural disasters.

Moreover, it is essential to improve the quality of the forecast of natural disasters in areas and nationwide. The process of forecasting must be accurate and timely for sectors, forces and localities to proactively build up plans for preventing and responding to natural disasters, particularly typhoons, supertyphoons, tornados and flash and extremely severe floods. On the basis of ratified plans, it is necessary to proactively hold drills to achieve consensus between awareness and action, particularly coordination among forces.

Second, proactively review plans for socioeconomic development and adjust production structure in accordance with natural disaster developments and conditions of regions and localities. Due to geographical characteristics and impact of climate change, natural disasters in our country happen frequently and tend to rise in quantity and intensity. Thus, together with natural disaster prevention, control and mitigation, taking measures of adaptation is an important matter. To this end, sectors and localities should focus on review plans for socioeconomic development to adjust production structure to types of natural disasters in each area. When performing functions and tasks, ministries, sectors and localities should attach natural prevention and control to ministries and sectors’ development plan and localities’ plan for socioeconomic development.

As for mountainous areas, midlands and plains, it is necessary to draw up plans, shift crop plants and livestock, and construct flood-control and anti-flooded works in accordance with realities and environment. It is also important to grasp and seriously implement the Decision 1776/QĐ-TTg, dated November 21st 2012, by Prime Minister, on positioning residential areas suffered from natural disasters, to meet the requirements set by socioeconomic development, ensure defence and security and have no effect on natural disaster prevention and control of the region. To that end, localities should closely work with relevant ministries and sectors to position residential areas in a scientific and proper manner while facilitating people’s life in long time.

As for urban areas, there is a need to successfully conduct the planning work, especially the planning of traffic system, urban residence, industrial zone, underground works. Attention should be paid to eliminating elements that hinder natural disaster prevention and mitigation.

As for coastal areas, alongside effective implementation of natural disaster prevention and control projects, such as systems of dykes and embankments, coastal protection forests, storm shelters for vessels, it is necessary to develop salt marsh plants and solid systems of rafts for breeding seafood in order to match sea level rise scenarios.

Third, attaching great importance to completing the apparatus of natural disaster prevention and control. Over the past years, with the interest of the Party and the State, the structure of agencies for natural disaster prevention and control at all levels has been frequently completed both in quantity and quality. However, most of cadres of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and commanding committees for natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue at all levels are various multiple positions. Meanwhile, the core forces in charge of giving advice and direction on natural disaster prevention and control from central level to grass-roots level have yet to be highly professional.

In the time ahead, focus should be on completing the structure of natural disaster prevention and control agencies at all levels, particularly the system of state’s directing, commanding and managing agencies with proper structure and competent authority. In short term, it is necessary to complete the structure of General Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control for its advent. It is also important to improve task performance of members of the Central Steering Committee for natural disaster prevention and control and local commanding committees for natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue to ensure that direction and command be thorough from prevention and response to repair of damage and reconstruction. Besides, attention should be paid to investing in facilities and equipment for advisory and directing forces as well as in-charge and half-in-charge forces of ministries, sectors and localities to effectively respond to natural disasters.

Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Member of the Party Central Committee, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control

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