Thursday, July 04, 2019, 18:44 (GMT+7)
The Military actively takes part in natural disaster prevention and control and climate change response

Promoting the recorded results and experiences, the entire Military continues to take the lead in natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue as well as climate change response, being the reliable force of the party committees, authorities and people, bolstering the fine tradition and nature of “Uncle Ho’s soldiers” in the new situation.

Due to the climate change on a global scale, natural disasters across our country tend to be complex and unpredictable and cause our people and State severe human and material losses. According to statistics, never have we suffered unusual natural disasters like those in recent years. In 2018, natural disasters continuously occurred across the country, including 13 tropical storms and depressions, 212 thunderstorms and cyclones, 14 flash floods and landslides, 9 strong winds at sea. Moreover, there were 4 heavy cold spells, 11 heat waves, 23 cold waves, and 30 heavy showers in a large area. It should be noted that there have appeared again great floods in the upper Cuu Long River and highest tides of ever which severely eroded river banks and seashores in the Cuu Long River Delta and the Central Coast since 2011. Natural disasters and climate change caused 218 people dead and missing and ruined thousands of houses, tens of thousands of hectares of rice, crops, and fisheries as well as hundreds of constructions, which were estimated to worth over 20,000 billion VND.

Lt. Gen. Ngo Quy Duc addressing the conference on reviewing the work of directing natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue in 2018 (photo: bienphong.com.vn)

Clearly understanding the impacts of natural disasters and climate change and grasping the function and assigned task, the entire Military has actively, proactively performed the task of natural disaster prevention and control and climate change response, and obtained many encouraging results. Party committees and commands have paid due attention to leading and directing this task. Units have proactively built their force, formulated the plans/projects and prepared materials and means for natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue in line with the areas’ particularities, while frequently reviewing and adjusting the plans and projects, organizing training and exercises, and maintaining the order for duty seriously. In 2018 and first quarter of 2019, the whole Military mobilized over 299,000 cadres and soldiers, over 13,100 vehicles to effectively, opportunely deal with 1,288 natural disasters and incidents, rescued 1,560 vehicles and 88 people including 167 foreign people and 10 foreign vehicles, and guided over 804,050 vessels and nearly 3 million fishers to storm shelters. Besides, units within the Military donated tens of billions of VND to the people affected by natural disasters. That military cadres and soldiers are always present in dangerous places to help the people with natural disasters has bolstered the fine nature and tradition of “Uncle Ho’s soldiers”.

In the upcoming time, according to the forecasts, climate change and natural disasters will continue to be more complex and unpredictable and seriously impact on socio-economic development, defence-security, and the people’s life. To enhance the effectiveness of natural disaster prevention and control and climate change response, offices and units within the Military should focus on the following measures.

1. Stepping up the work of propagation and education to raise the people and military staff’s awareness of natural disaster prevention and control and climate change response, particularly in the areas vulnerable to natural disasters. This is a measure of utmost importance to minimizing the damage caused by natural disasters and climate change. To do so, all-level party committees and commands should focus on introducing the resolutions and directives by the Party, State, and Ministry of National Defence (MND) on natural disaster and climate change prevention and control to the people and military staff, with emphasis placed on the Resolution of the 11th Party Central Committee’s 7th Plenum on “Proactively responding to climate change, enhancing resource management and environmental protection”, the Government’s Decree 30/2017/NĐ-CP on “the regulations on the organization and operation of incident and natural disaster response and search and rescue”, and the Central Military Commission’s Resolution 689-NQ/QUTW on “natural disaster prevention and mitigation and search and rescue towards 2020 and beyond”. Doing so will make cadres and soldiers clearly understand the viewpoints, principles, mottos, and requirements for natural disaster prevention and control and climate change response as well as the advantages and difficulties in the performance of this important mission. The whole Military, particularly the all-level party committees and commands should consider this as a political task and “a combat task in peacetime”. Thus, offices and units should actively renew and diversify the content, forms, and methods of propagation and education to make them relevant to each group of objects and area; strictly maintain the order for natural disaster prevention and control duty; proactively design the action plans/projects and assign specific tasks.

2.  Making elaborate preparations in term of personnel, means, and project to opportunely, effectively settle all natural disaster, incident, and climate change situations. Nowadays, natural disasters and incidents tend to be more complex and unpredictable. To opportunely, effectively respond to them, it is vital to make all necessary preparations and be proactive in prevention and control, with the former playing the core role. Thus, the whole Military should continue to consolidate the forces taking part in natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue and attach great value to building and making the on-spot forces capable of responding to all natural disaster and climate change situations. Grounded on the recorded results and the requirements set by reality, units should put store by building the forces at all levels, with the militia and self-defence force playing the core role, particularly in the vulnerable, remote, isolated areas under the “4-on-spot” motto in order to opportunely, effectively respond to all natural disasters caused by climate change right at the grass-roots level. Notably, it is important to make investments in building the specialized forces politically, qualitatively, and quantitatively; to further mobilize resources in acquiring specialized means and equipment for natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue.

Units should attach importance to consolidating the structure of the all-level Commands for natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue; proactively design, frequently review, adjust, and supplement the plans/projects in accord with the task; grasp the developments of weather, meteorology, and hydrology; maintain the order for duty at all levels to readily manoeuvre and deploy the forces and means and resolutely avoid falling into passivity. At the same time, they should further renew and improve the quality of training the forces’ experiences in organizing and operating the procedures for natural disaster management and search and rescue. Over the past years, localities have flexibly combined the defensive zone exercises with natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue drills and achieved many good results, which has helped train and enhance the all-level party committees and authorities’ capabilities in direction, operation, and command as well as the forces’ coordination, willpower, and capability in using means and equipment. Promoting those results, offices and units should attach significance to organizing training and exercises under the approved projects, particularly those for serious natural disasters, such as super typhoons, floods in a large area, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis, improving units’ task performance, and opportunely drawing the lessons.

3. Closely cooperating with sectors, forces, localities and international community in natural disaster prevention and control and climate change response. Climate change is a global issue while natural disaster prevention and control and search and rescue are always complex. Thus, sectors, forces, and localities should closely cooperate with one another in performing this important task. Currently, as it has been in the typhoon season, offices and units should adhere to the directives on the military-defence work and functional offices’ guiding documents. They should cooperate with ministries, sectors, and stationed localities in grasping the areas; advise local party committees and authorities on planning, adjusting, and rearranging the residential areas and constructions for flood control; design the projects to defend irrigation and hydropower reservoirs; evacuate the people from the dangerous zones; formulate the projects for mobilizing the resources, the mechanisms for information exchange, and the regulations for cooperation in natural disaster prevention and control; develop the plans for elaborate preparations under the “4-on-spot” motto. Competent offices of the MND should cooperate with ministries, sectors, and localities in completing the legal normative documents and the mechanisms for climate change response and search and rescue, with a focus on building the mechanism and policy for international cooperation in this field. Emphasis should be placed on fostering cooperation in training and exercises, exchanging information and experiences in natural disaster prevention and management, and modernizing equipment for search and rescue in line with the country’s condition.

In addition to those above-mentioned measures, offices and units should improve their cadres and soldiers’ material and mental life and opportunely, sufficiently ensure entitlements and policies for them; enhance the work of conducting reviews and drawing lessons; opportunely commend and reward collectives and individuals with courage and outstanding achievements in natural disaster prevention and control, climate change response, and search and rescue. Doing so will give an impetus to successfully fulfill the “combat task in peacetime” to deserve the tradition of “Uncle Ho’s soldiers” and the people’s affection and faith.

Lt. Gen. Ngo Quy Duc, Director of the Department of Search and Rescue

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