AUICK First 2010 Workshop
City Report and Revised Action Plan
Nguyen Van Phat
Through the AUICK Action Plan of 2007, authorities in Danang have supported the incorporation of maternal and child health care into disaster management plans. The revised Plan will further promote disaster preparedness at the community level.
1. The City
Danang City is located in central Vietnam, between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, separated from Laos by the western Truong Son Mountains. It covers an area of 1,256 km² and has a population of 887,069 inhabitants, as of 2009, estimated to reach one million by 2014.
Danang is one of the natural disaster-prone cities in Vietnam, a country where disasters annually cause great loss of life, and economic and environmental damage. Due to its location in the tropical monsoon zone with heavy annual rainfall, diverse geological conditions, and fast economic and demographic growth during the last two decades, Vietnam, especially in coastal cities in the central regions like Danang, has suffered all kinds of natural disasters caused by climatic extremes. The most frequent and destructive of these are floods and flash floods, landslides and debris flows, river bank and coastal erosion, and sand storms/flows. In the ten years from 1999 to 2009, Danang suffered the highest number of severe storms in Vietnam's central region (34 storms). These killed 210 people and destroyed over 15,000 houses, damaging and flooding many more. Total estimated damages to infrastructure were valued at nearly 6,000 billion VND. Danang, Vietnam These disasters also severely affect living conditions, the quality of life of the local people and the socio-economic development rate of the city.
2. Action Plan Progress
The AUICK Second 2007 Workshop Action Plan for Danang increased the capacity of its Health Department to provide maternal and child health care during natural disasters, with the cooperation of local authorities. It set up the Special City Committee for MCH in Natural Disasters in 2007, which was immediately operational. The Committee is led by the heads of the Health Department and several other departments, supported by the city authorities. The Committee members work in close cooperation with other agencies and health centers, and bi-monthly meetings decide lists of essential disaster contingency measures, which are then submitted to city leaders. These measures were implemented during heavy storms from 2007 to 2009. Authorities realized the urgent need for MCH action and strongly supported and funded all necessary activities. Severe flooding in the city over the period, though, showed that much needs to be done to minimize damages and loss of life caused by the storms. Some people, especially women and children, had to stay in temporary shelters with poor conditions while being evacuated. (In all there were 33,920 evacuees over the period.) Others were living in areas which were isolated, completely inaccessible for a long period of time, and lacking food, drinking water and basic health care services. Many families who had been moved to new areas, according to city planning policies, lived in the main path of the flood currents, and had to suffer greatly.
3. Proposed Action Plan Revision
The revised Action Plan will address the needs for more accurate weather forecasting and adequate communication systems, especially during natural disasters, and identification of vulnerable areas through research and surveys. This will enable relevant departments and agencies to give early warnings to local communities, and conduct evacuations when necessary. Multi-function houses serving as local shelters in natural disasters will be improved, as well as care services for mothers and children, especially after natural disasters occur.
To implement the Plan, the Health Department will work with the Natural Disaster Management and Prevention Centre/Department, the Weather Forecast Station, Police Department, military authorities and the City Council. Funding will be sought from charity organizations and NGOs, in addition to the city's budget. The Plan will focus on the districts in the city's suburbs at high risk of flooding and severely hit by storms, where a strong sense of natural disaster resistant community will be promoted. All individuals and local businesses need to be aware of what to do and how to cooperate before, during and after natural disasters happen. The media will educate on the need and ways to stay prepared, and volunteer students can attend various courses and offer help when required. Charity groups' activities and services from churches and pagodas have always been important in natural disasters, and these will also be promoted. Then, the Action Plan's implementation will be monitored bi-monthly by the Committee for Maternal and Child Health Care, and annually or semi-annually by the City Government.
Plan Time Frame: June