Natural disasters cause loss of $139 million in five months

Natural disasters killed 15 people and destroyed nearly 1,700 houses in the five first months of 2020, according to a report released by Việt Nam’s Central Steering Committee on natural disaster control and prevention on Tuesday.

A dry reservoir in Ninh Phước District, Ninh Thuận Province (VNA/VNS Ngọc Hà)

The country also endured estimated losses of more than VNĐ3.2 trillion (US$139 million) due to extreme weather with thousands of hectares of rice and vegetable damaged and some 54,200 houses severely damaged, said Nguyễn Trường Sơn, deputy head of Việt Nam Disaster Management Authority. More disasters are forecast to strike Việt Nam towards the end of the year.

Saline intrusion on some rivers in Mekong Delta has exceeded the historic 2015-2016 dry season which caused damage of VNĐ15 trillion ($646 million). The intrusion has come a month earlier than in previous years and saltwater has reached up to 100km into rivers and withdrawn very slowly.

Extreme weather has been reported nationwide since the beginning of the year including more than 100 hailstorms in 31 provinces and cities and Hà Nội’s temperature drop to 16.5 degree Celsius in late April, the lowest at that time of year in five decades.  

To prepare for coming disasters, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Việt Nam Red Cross (VNRC) has accelerated IT use to provide warnings, according to the VNRC vice president Nguyễn Hải Anh.

VNRC’s community-based interventions focus on clean water, safe accommodation, livelihoods and health care.

Anh said using a forecast-based action plan and the private sector’s engagement were highlights of VNRC’s disaster prevention and response activities in 2019.

In the first five months of this year, the VNRC allocated more than VNĐ100 billion ($4.3 million) to support people and localities affected by extreme weather and the pandemic.

Việt Nam must not surrender to the impacts of climate change, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc at the national online conference on disaster control and prevention on May 15, urging people to adapt and drive the country forward.

Disasters are estimated to cost Việt Nam 1 to 1.5 per cent of GDP annually. 

Viet Nam News