Photo: UNDP Viet Nam/ Phan Huong Giang

Exposed by its 3,260-km coastline to 19 types of disasters such as typhoons, floods, coastal erosion and landslides, Viet Nam is one of the most hazard-prone countries in the East-Asia and Pacific region.

To strengthen schools’ multi-hazards preparedness and scale up safety drills, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) launched a five-year disaster prevention program for 2018-2023.

"The program will bring disaster education to all our schools. It will help students, teachers and communities to work together and make informed decisions on how to respond to natural disasters. It will minimize possible damages and, thereby, contribute to the Viet Nam’s economic development,” said Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

At the launching ceremony, the Minister of Education and Training Mr. Phung Xuan Nha expressed his appreciation for the climate change adaptation and disaster prevention initiative, which targets high school students.

Over the next five years the MOET will develop study plans and teaching materials suitable for different regions and age groups based on the best research available. According to minister Nha, the multi-hazards preparedness education will be provided as part of both regular curriculum and after school activities. This will give teachers and students access to the knowledge and skills they need to prepare for climate change and hazards, explained Nha.

UNDP support to Viet Nam’s disaster preparedness

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) highly welcomed this initiative. Through the strong partnership Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA) and support from the Government of Japan, UNDP recently organized disaster awareness activities and emergency evacuation drills under the campaign “Schools of Son Tinh”.

As a result, nearly 5,500 students in areas vulnerable for floods and storm surges were trained to save their lives in times of weather-related emergencies.

Ninh Thuan province was one of the provinces participating in the campaign.

"Through children, these skills spread to their families and communities. These skills are necessary to cope with climate change, which is increasingly affecting our country,” said Nguyen Anh Linh, Deputy Director of Ninh Thuan Department of Education and Training. "We consider UNDP’s awareness raising campaign as a starting point for a much wider movement. Emergency drills are highly educational and necessary that will benefit the whole society,” Linh continued.

Inspired by the UNDP's Tsunami Project, Ninh Thuan Province in Viet Nam brings safety drills to all schools

“It is very important to raise awareness about natural disasters among the young generation. In 2011, there was a strong earthquake in Japan that prompted a tsunami. It took lives of many young people, because they didn’t know what to do to stay safe,” said Akihiko Nakano, from the Embassy of Japan in Viet Nam.

“Among most vulnerable groups to natural disasters are elderly, disabled and young people. Young people can take care of themselves when they have necessary knowledge and skills as early as possible,” said Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Country Director in Viet Nam.

Raising awareness on climate change together with UNDP - Caitlin Wiesen's talk with the television

“Schools of Son Tinh” is part of a regional project that brings tsunami awareness and evacuation drills to 90 vulnerable schools in 18 tsunami-prone countries.

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.

In Viet Nam, UNDP has been partnering with the Government of Viet Nam for 40 years and has supported the national formulation and implementation of the global development agenda, such as the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction, the Paris climate Agreement and its commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNDP has also been a key ally in the development of a policy framework including the first law on natural disaster in 2013. It also promoted institutional reforms like the establishment of the first Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA), in 2017, and has been strongly involved in building its capacity.

The success of UNDP’s disaster prevention projects in Viet Nam have laid foundation for UNDP to provide further support to the Government to achieve its targets and goals for disaster prevention and climate change adoption.

More information: https://bit.ly/2Grkdcg

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