In Typhoon-ravaged Viet Nam, Schoolchildren Learn Safe Evacuations

Jan 19, 2018

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Photo: UNDP / Phan Huong Giang
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Photo: UNDP / Phan Huong Giang
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Photo: UNDP / Phan Huong Giang
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Photo: UNDP / Phan Huong Giang

19 January 2018 – Nearly 1,100 students in Truong Van Ly secondary school in Ninh Thuan province in Vietnam practiced a safe evacuation drill today, to prepare for emergencies such as tsunamis, floods, cyclones etc. Prior the drill, the school assessed its disaster risk and developed emergency procedures to respond to natural hazards. All teachers and students completed tsunami awareness and first aid training.

Preparing for emergencies is becoming increasingly important as the country is experiencing more extreme weather.

In 2017, Viet Nam was hit by 16 typhoons. More than four million people were affected by floods, mudslides and landslides caused by heavy winds and downpours. Thousands of houses were damaged, communities evacuated, and tens of thousands of hectares of crops destroyed. According to the government, the economic loss is estimated at over 990 million US dollars.

"Children are among the most vulnerable groups affected by natural disasters. They need knowledge and skills to protect themselves and help others,” said Dao Xuan Lai, Assistant Country Director, Head of Environment and Climate Change Unit, UNDP Viet Nam. “For example, ways of identifying early signs of tsunamis and other natural disasters, and actively taking part in the evacuation to ensure their safety".

After the evacuation drill, students and teachers of Truong Van Ly secondary school walked through the nearby community to explain natural disasters and how to recognize the warning signs; and to identify hazard zones and learn how to avoid them.  

Visiting villagers and raising awareness about emergency preparedness was important part of the activities, as the coastal province of Ninh Thuan can be among the first areas to be hit by typhoons or tropical storms.

Today’s safety drill and emergency education activities are part of a disaster awareness campaign dubbed “Schools of Son Tinh.” The campaign is organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Government of Japan.

"We consider the campaign as a starting point for a much wider movement. Emergency drills are highly educational and necessary not only for students but the whole society. We need to replicate this safe school model across the provinces to raise awareness of the importance of disaster prevention, said Nguyen Anh Linh, Deputy Director of Ninh Thuan Department of Education and Training.

Today’s drill was observed by leaders of the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority, Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Provincial Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention, Provincial Department of Education and Training, district leaders, teachers, and students from other schools.

The “Schools of Son Tinh” campaign is part of to the UNDP’s and Japan’s regional project “Strengthening School Preparedness for Tsunamis in the Asia-Pacific Region” in 18 Asia-Pacific countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.

The project contributes to the achievement of the Sendai Framework’s targets to reduce lives lost, numbers of people affected, and economic damage from natural and human-induced hazards. It also aims to achieve UNDP’s goal to help vulnerable regions to adapt to climate change by integrating disaster risk measures into national strategies.

Contact information

Phan Huong Giang | Media and Communications Analyst (Climate change, Environment and Policy), UNDP Việt Nam

E. phan.huong.giang@undp.org

M. + 84 (0) 9484 66688

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