APEC economies discuss disasters mitigation

The 11th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum gathered to discuss and draw up solutions and exchange experiences in preventing and handling disasters.

The 11th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum took place in Nghe An province (Photo: Tuoitre.vn)

On September 21, 2017, the 11th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum, which was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) with the support of the APEC 2017 National Committee and the Nghe An People’s Committee, took place in Vinh city of Nghe An province.

This meeting bore special relevance for the economies in the Asia-Pacific, as these areas frequently see heavy damage to human lives and property due to natural disasters.

According to Hoang Van Thang, Deputy Minister of MARD, the forum is a precious chance for APEC economies to exchange experiences in disaster prevention, enhancing the community’s collective capacity of disaster management.

He said that after the discussions APEC economies can submit a general recommendation to their leaders to promote cooperation to support disaster prevention activities.

Thang said that APEC economies should place priority on disaster prevention, emergency response, and reconstruction after disasters.

Nghe An is usually hit by big storms, most recently the Doksuri storm.

Dinh Viet Hong, vice chairman of the Nghe An People’s Committee, expressed hope that through the discussions, the province can learn from other countries and have better solutions to reduce the negative impacts of disasters on the province.

The forum’s report indicated that the Asia-Pacific is easily affected by diverse natural disasters and other disasters caused by human activities. Extreme weather events are becoming the “new norm,” the frequency, intensity, and devastation of which are harder to forecast. It is estimated that on average, the Asia-Pacific area suffers 40 per cent of total disasters in the world.

In particular, the Asia-Pacific recorded numerous historical disasters, such as the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the 2011 flood in Thailand, the 2015 super storm Koppu in the Philippines, and recently, the Harvey and Irma storms hitting the US and wreaking havoc across the states of Texas and Florida.

Similarly, recently, Son La and Yen Bai provinces in Vietnam have suffered extreme floods leaving 42 dead or missing in their wake. In addition, just a few days ago, the Doksuri storm swept over many provinces of Central Vietnam, resulting in the loss of life of nine residents and the collapse of 193,000 houses. The total damage was estimated to be around $385 million.

The 11th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum focused on solutions for disaster management by enhancing cooperation and renewing innovative technology to support disaster prevention activities. Some of the solutions include:

- Sharing and exchanging experiences in applying technology, sharing information and communications and regional cooperation, especially in the field of science to strengthen understanding of the “new norm” of disasters and the accompanying risks.

- Developing solutions to operate information infrastructure for effective emergency response to disasters.

- Renewing science and technology in “new normal” disaster prevention activities.

The discussion will be continued on September 22 to find more solutions to deal with disasters and mitigate effects in APEC economies as well as in the world.

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By Trang Vu