At the drill, there were also representatives from the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, UNDP, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry  (VCCI), Quang Nam provincial Department of Education and Training, provincial Border Defense Forces, Red Cross, provincial Women’s Union, provincial Youth’s Union, and leaders of coastal districts.

Vietnam is a disaster-prone country where such natural disasters as typhoon, flood, drought, flash flood and landslide happen frequently with most serious damages. In the past two decades, annually natural disasters in Vietnam resulted in nearly 300 deaths and missings and economic loss of 1-1.5% GDP averagely.

Photo: UNDP

According to the National Institute of Geophysics, if earthquake happens in the fault zone in Manila, Philippines, there is a potential risk of tsunami; and in around two hours since the earthquake, tsunami waves would affect 13 Central coastal provinces and cities in Vietnam, including Quang Nam.

To proactively respond to tsunami risk, Vietnam has step-by-step invested in building multi-purpose disaster warning stations (including tsunami). These stations have been constructed and installed in Da Nang and Quang Nam provinces. And the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued procedures for pilot exploitation and operation of the above-mentioned guarding and warning system, including the Procedure for tsunami warning.

“Children, the country’s future owners, are the group being most vulnerable to natural disasters. They need equipping with knowledge and skills to protect themselves from natural hazards. Response to disaster risks including tsunami should be integrated into the teaching curriculum of schools at all levels in Central coastal communes” said Mr. Nguyen Truong Son, Vice Manager of the Standing Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

Photo: UNDP

In 2018, with support from the Government of Japan, United Nations Development Programme and the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control successfully conducted trainings and drills to raise awareness of tsunami risks and disaster risks of more than 5,500 students and teachers in five schools in coastal provinces of Vietnam.

Ms. Sitara Syed, Deputy Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme emphasized that “School drills have been proved to be very effective in reducing the impacts of tsunami and other disasters.  It is important to not underestimate this kind of disaster; and especially we need to put in place a good school’s tsunami response plan, which should specify:  each task, designated person, timing and evacuation process.  At the same time, there need to have frequent drills to test the plan and to strengthen awareness and skills of students and teachers.”

Photo: UNDP

The “Schools of Son Tinh” Campaign is a key component of the “Strengthening School Preparedness for Tsunamis in Asia and the Pacific” Project funded by the Government of Japan in 18 Asia – Pacific countries including: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

This Project contributes to the objectives of Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, i.e. to reduce the number of deaths, or number of affected people, and economic loss due to natural or man-made risks. This Project also aims at achieving UNDP’s objective to help vulnerable regions respond to climate change by integrating the disaster prevention and control measures into the national strategies./.

Khac Kien