Save people in the storm

When I posted the Wipha storm warning on my personal page, one week before the storm reached the shore, I was confident that because there was information soon there would certainly be no loss of life.

It was a week before the storm hit the shore. But the reality is not as I thought. All week after the storm, I was obsessed with the soulless gaze of the man who lost his family after a flood in Quan Son, Thanh Hoa. He had just broken up with his family a few days ago to work on the street, and when he returned, his parents, sister, wife and two young children were swept away with their house. It is hard to imagine this pain. His life, like so many others, changed forever after the natural disasters in Vietnam.

In my mind, I kept asking the question why the storm is not big and the loss and damage are so great? Cause from? Warning information is the crux of the problem.

Over the past 10 years, my professional work has been closely linked to natural disasters and climate change. I have a habit of giving a warning about disaster on my site in the hope that people will be best informed about the potential risks. I hope I can help people, even a few, know how to stay safe and protect their property.

I am very happy to receive the thank you message after each disaster from people I have never met. Mother and daughter, a sister in Nha Trang, after reading the forecast about Hurricane Damrey in 2017, went to avoid the storm at her grandparents' house. By the time they returned, the house was in ruins. "Without information, my mother and I don't know how," she texted and befriended me.

Last year, by following my forecast for a record heatwave, a family of medicinal herbs gathered their ingredients, dried them and processed them instead of planting new ones. She gave the product as a thank you, and I'm still using their herbal shampoo.

My extreme weather reports aren't always true, but one thing I always keep in mind for readers is that it's not subjective, especially with hurricane circulation. The statistics of damage caused by natural disasters in Vietnam show that storm circulation caused heavy rains, floods and flash floods caused much greater damage than the previous storm itself.

People are often subjective when they hear the forecast "storm has weakened into tropical depression" and consider themselves in a safe area. In fact, tropical depressions and circulation after storms inland are very dangerous. Most of the loss of life and property is due to inaccurate, inaccurate forecasts, or people who have heard the forecast but are subjective that floods will not reach their place. The remote villages have less chance of updating. Information is still a great distance, as valuable as human life.

I have always said that in order to improve our ability to cope with natural disasters and extreme climate change, the most important thing is to save people. If you cannot save anything, you must save people. And actually, saving people is not difficult. We only need to know where and when storms and storms will occur. If it is determined, the evacuation of people will be simple, there will be no story of dozens of deaths and disappearances after a small storm.

For example, if people are notified after an hour the flood will come, they do not even need to run, just walk away from the area at risk of flash floods, at least protect their lives and their families. .

The crux of the problem is that: there are predictions, even by reputable global forecast centers and Vietnamese authorities, that it is not possible to determine in detail where and when the flood will come. come on. The task of forecasting natural disasters and extreme weather is currently unable to forecast details of each commune, ward, river and stream.

The Vietnamese authorities have only stated that there is a "flash flood risk" but cannot confirm that "flash floods will occur". And the people, who hear the same news repeating day after day, no longer feel the attention and awareness of the seriousness of the disaster warnings. This need to be corrected immediately by detailing the forecast, not repeating the same forecast every day and every locality.

In order to get detailed and quality forecasting information, it is important that we have an early flood warning system at the headwaters of rivers and streams, based on studies of rainfall and topography. and hydraulic maps, then gather information and issue warning messages. However, Vietnam has complex mountainous terrain upstream with thousands of branches of rivers and streams. It is almost impossible to invest in installing and operating an early warning system in the context of incomplete infrastructure and limited financial resources. I think this is an important task to tackle.

The next thing is that local decision-making authority is not well established. The initiative of the local government in organizing activities with the people to prevent natural disasters already exists with the motto "four on the spot", including: on-the-spot command, on-site forces, on-site means and logistics. in place. However, the application of this motto is still inadequate due to limited information and resources so grassroots cadres still have to "wait for direction".

The person most responsible for the disaster is the local leader. But I know there are situations where local officials have difficulty making decisions, for example, the chairman of the commune judges that flash floods are at risk, he has the right and, by law, to mobilize officials. Function of evacuating people in dangerous areas. The problem is that he does not dare to evacuate people voluntarily if information about natural disasters is not really clear and there is no guidance from superiors. Because if natural disasters do not occur, people complain, he will be disciplined.

Just at the beginning of the rainy season, we have been sad news of human damage. Then, like many years, very quickly we will forget. Disaster risks are forgotten in the mindset of planners, those involved in local government, in the community of the area where the disaster has occurred, except the death of a family. And then, most likely it repeats elsewhere.

Nguyen Ngoc Huy