Emergencies and humanitarian action
- In more than 50 years (1954-2006), Viet Nam has been hit by 380 typhoons and tropical depressions.
- From 1989-2011, Viet Nam suffered average annual deaths (including missing) of 567 people from natural disasters.
- Typhoon Ketsana in 2009 affected 11 provinces in central coastal and west highland regions and resulted in 172 deaths and nearly 900 injuries.
- Viet Nam suffers average annual GDP (PPP) losses of USD1.9 billion (or 1.3 percent of GDP)
Table 1: Historical natural disaster damage (1)
|Year||Deaths# including missing||Injured#||People affected#||Houses destroyed*||Houses damaged*||Total estimated damage US (,000)#|
|2010||221||103||1,522,710||6,054||Data not available||704,700|
|2011||76||2||Data not available||222||94,465||92,300|
(1) Data from the EM-DAT database, Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) and * data from the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control (CCFSC). Due to known unreliability of the data, especially in previous decades, this data should be used to give an indication of the damage or to highlight trends rather than to indicate an exact number per year.
- Floods are among the most common natural disasters in Viet Nam. Typhoons and lower tropical depressions are the most common cause of river floods and flash floods because they often bring heavy rains. Therefore, whenever a typhoon is approaching, a flood warning is often issued as these types of floods tend to occur quickly. In contrast, seasonal floods tend to build up slowly in the Mekong delta and Red River regions and are often caused by heavy and prolonged rains.
Typhoons and Tropical Depressions
- Located in the Asia Pacific Region, Viet Nam is prone to typhoons and tropical depressions. Viet Nam suffers from 5-7 typhoons annually, most typhoons and tropical depressions happen between July and November. The central coastal area is the most vulnerable to typhoons and tropical depressions. It is postulated that due to the influence of climate change that typhoons have increased in both frequency and intensity compared to previous years. Typhoons, together with floods, are the major causes of damage in Viet Nam as a result of natural disasters. Approximately 62% of the population live in areas which are potentially exposed to typhoons. In the last 50 years some 20,000 people have been killed by typhoons, compared to only 4,000 for floods. The worst typhoons this century were the 1964 typhoon which caused 7,000 casualties and Typhoon Linda in 1997 which killed 3,600 people and made over a million people homeless.
- Following flood and typhoon, drought ranks third in frequency among natural disasters in Viet Nam. This is likely due to the adverse impact of extreme whether, there are more and more droughts happening across country. The areas most affected by drought are the red river delta region in the north and the highland region in the south west. Although seldom causing accidents and injury, droughts often result in significant impact on health status due to shortage of quality drinking water, and poor sanitation and malnutrition.
- Earthquakes are not common natural disasters in Viet Nam. Although they have occurred in the past, they are usually of low magnitude and intensity and cause little damage. They occur mostly at sea or in the North-western mountainous provinces. The northern region of Viet Nam has moderate to low seismicity but some major fault systems exist, placing areas such as those of the Red River (Song Hong), Ma River (Song Ma), and two provinces, Lai Chau and Dien Bien, at high risk of earthquakes.
- Viet Nam has not suffered from a tsunami, however an earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater of the Richter scale at the Manila fault line could affect the Central coast areas from Da Nang to Quang Ngai. Systems are in place to track a tsunami from this source.
- Viet Nam is located in a tropical monsoon zone, one of five storm-prone areas of the Asia Pacific region, and is frequently exposed to storms.
- Natural disasters create health emergencies and populations affected are particularly vulnerable to health risks, including during the post-disaster and recovery stages.
- The challenge for Viet Nam is to adapt new and effective emergency mechanisms to meet the needs of a country in transition.
- Other risks include:
- The effects of industrialization, economic diversification and pollution;
- A lack of regulation or poor enforcement of regulations;
- Climate change, changing land management practices, deforestation and environmental degradation.
- WHO is taking an increasingly active role in supporting Viet Nam’s efforts to prepare and respond to the impact of natural disasters.
- WHO works closely with the Government, international partners, and local institutions to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, disasters and crises.
- WHO aims to:
- Advocate for political support and consistent resources for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in order to save lives and reduce suffering in times of crisis;
- Strengthen the capacity and resilience of the health system to mitigate and manage disasters;
- Build efficient partnerships for emergency management and ensure proper coordination;
- Support emergency-response training and the development of adequate surge capacity;
- Develop evidence-based guidance for all phases of emergency work in the health sector.