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Flood prevention: Planning "settlement place" for people

(02:13:06 PM, 28/08/2017)

Arranging and relocating residential areas is critical to minimizing the damage caused by the type of natural disaster that is difficult to predict flash floods. In addition, there should be clear standards for construction works in the "floodplain" areas.

* Flash flood – sudden, major damage

 The recent flash flood and landslide have buried 77 villages of Muong La district, Son La province and central Mu Cang Chai district, Yen Bai province in rocky soil. 30 people were killed and missing, 25 wounded and 233 houses collapsed and swept away; causing total damage of VND1,247 billion. Floods, landslides continue to affect northern mountainous provinces such as Dien Bien, Lao Cai and Lai Chau. Thousands of households are in need of emergency relocation.

According to the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention and Control, the damage caused by rain and flood happened from August 1 to 4 in Yen Bai, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Bac Can, Cao Bang ... Total damage has reached VND 538.2 billion. In particular, flash floods cause great damage to people.

Nguyen Dang Quang, Head of the Department of Forecasting and Remote Sensing, Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said that flash floods, landslides cannot be predicted.Only potential risks of flash floods in a wide area or area are warned. Flood forecasting is a difficult issue. Developed countries such as the United States and Japan, with modern techniques namely satellites, weather radar, and automated surveying systems also only publish flash flood warnings for an area, not for a specific location.

* Flash flood-related criteria and standards needed for the construction

Experts and scientists working on these issues for many years have warned that Vietnam must urgently set up a specific plan for the high risk of flash floods and landslides in each hamlet, village and set up landmarks throughout the northern mountainous region. Without reshuffling, many northern mountainous populations may disappear in the future.

Many international experts living and working in Vietnam have repeatedly exchanged experiences on planning residential areas to prevent and mitigate damage caused by flash floods and landslides. Experts said that disaster prevention is the most important solution with the participation of all ministries and sectors. It is necessary to set criteria and standards for the impacts on landscape and geology when constructing transport works, urban areas, residential areas, and tourist areas .

Kenichiro Tachi, Water Resources Specialist, Japan International Cooperation Agency, said that in order to cope with natural disasters, it is important to prepare before natural disasters rather than resolve the consequences. People must be provided with adequate information about the disasters. Then, prevent natural disasters in three important domains:

First, construct infrastructure, i.e. construct against the flow, houses must be really strong to resist the flow. However, even if we have strong houses, it is not 100% safe when disaster strikes.

Second, manage people's living places away from natural disaster-prone areas. However, it is very difficult to find another place for the entire population to live in.

Third, alert the safety of people and evacuate when natural disasters occur, at least to ensure the lives of people in this area.

According to scientists, urgent measures should be taken to protect and develop the vegetation cover: planting protective forests, growing grass for livestock herds, contour planting. Without changing people's consciousness of direct impacts on nature, every solution will become meaningless.

Photo: It is necessary to arrange the residential areas to prevent flash flood


Minh Pham