Disaster preparedness education saves more lives

Sep 20, 2017

Ha Noi, 20 September 2017 - The comprehensive campaign on tsunami awareness and disaster prevention in schools was launched today in Cau Giay High school in Hanoi.

The campaign “Schools of Son Tinh” combines education programmes, tsunami and disasters drills, and awareness raising activities in selected schools across Viet Nam.

It is being conducted by the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA), Ministry of Agriculture and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Government of Japan.

Addressing over 1,000 students at the launching ceremony, Mr. Tran Quang Hoai, Director General (VNDMA) said: “Viet Nam has a coastline of 3,260 km. Its central coast can be hit by tsunamis within two hours, especially from the tsunami prone Phillipine trough in the East Sea.”

According to the long-term average Climate Risk Index from 1996 to 2015, Viet Nam ranks among the world's top ten countries most affected by disasters.

Although not frequent, Viet Nam has experienced   6.7 to 6.8 magnitude earthquakes in the past.

Scientists from the Institute of Geophysics have predicted that any earthquake of 8.6 magnitude in the East Sea could trigger 7-10 metres high tsunamis along the South Central coastal region of Viet Nam, from Quang Nam to Da Nang.

To reduce the impact from earthquakes and tsunamis, the Government of Viet Nam has approved a plan to establish a "Set-up a tsunami alert system for high risk areas proposal."

It aims at creating a tsunami warning communication system to alert the authorities and people in affected areas, to enable them to organize a timely response.

Mr. Yoshito Nakajima, Counselor at the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam shared the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and said “raising awareness and preparing for natural disasters among young generation is crucial.”

Children and youth are the future of any country and they are among the most vulnerable groups affected by natural disasters, says UNDP's Resident Representative a.i in Viet Nam Caitlin Wiesen.

"We must equip them with the knowledge and skills that may potentially save their lives” she said. “Education and disaster prevention in schools are important because it will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to cope with disasters and protect themselves. Moreover, each student will be an active communicator to raise awareness about disaster prevention at home, at school and in their community."

The “Schools of Son Tinh” campaign is part of UNDP’s regional project on raising tsunami awareness in select schools in 18 Asia Pacific countries. In Viet Nam, the campaign is organized in partnership with Live and Learn and the Viet Nam Student Magazine.  

Contact information

UNDP Viet Nam
Phan Huong Giang,
Climate Change & Environment Media and Communication Analyst,
email phan.huong.giang@undp.org; mob: 0948466688

UNDP Regional Bureau of Asia-Pacific
Cedric Monteiro
Communication Asia Pacific Advisor
Email cedric.monteiro@undp.org

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