About 264 people were killed and 1,000 injured as the consequences of natural disasters and weak hydropower plant management in 2016 according to a Monday conference.
Untimely discharge at Ho Ho Hydropower Plant affected people in Huong Khe District, Ha Tinh Province
At the conference about natural disaster prevention, search and rescue held in Hanoi on April 17, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc criticised the untimely discharge of hydropower plants.
“We can’t let hydropower plants continue discharging water and making floods more serious and deadly to people living downstream, and then claiming that they follow procedures. Then such procedures are wrong and unacceptable,” he said.
According to Phuc, Vietnam suffered from many natural and man-made disasters last year which had severe consequences. 264 people were killed, 1,000 were injured and the country lost 1% of GDP. Local authorities and foreign organisations have done their best to support the victims.
The prime minister pointed out shortcomings, for example, the Law on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control was completed in 2014 but hasn’t been included in the national plan. Many localities haven’t drafted a proper and detailed plan for emergencies. Phuc urged the completion of the national plan this year with help not only from foreign organisations but also from local authorities and experts.
State management over irrigation constructions and residential areas is still weak. Only a few projects include natural disaster prevention plans from early stages or during operation. Moreover, there are clearly wrongdoings in the city planning and the flood drainage wasn’t included in the planning if a coastal city is flooded heavily.
He went on to say that it was not right when natural disaster prevention funds were collected by the communal authorities but kept by provincial authorities. Then the communal authorities have to ask for money even though they have lots of work to do.
Violations and damages to dykes and embankments are also highlighted.
“Illegal sand extraction and landfill on rivers is rampant and it is damaging the dykes and badly affecting drainage capacity,” he said.
As Vietnam is said to be one of five countries that would be most affected by climate change, people’s awareness must be raised. Everyone, from local authorities, to the people and corporations, must actively carry out disaster prevention plans.