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UNDP supporting disaster preparedness education

Released at: 11:14, 21/09/2017

UNDP supporting disaster preparedness education

Photo: UNDP

"Schools of Son Tinh" campaign to promote tsunami awareness and disaster prevention at selected schools around Vietnam.

by Doanh Doanh

The Vietnam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with support from the Japanese Government, launched the “Schools of Son Tinh” campaign on tsunami awareness and disaster prevention at Cau Giay High School in Hanoi on September 20.

The campaign will combine education programs, tsunami and disasters drills, and awareness raising activities at selected schools around the country.

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

According to the long-term average Climate Risk Index from 1996 to 2015, Vietnam ranks among the world’s Top 10 countries most affected by disasters.

Though not frequent, Vietnam has experienced earthquakes of 6.7 and 6.8 magnitude 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-meter high tsunamis along the central coast.

To mitigate the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis, the government has approved a plan to establish a tsunami alert system for high risk areas, which aims to create a tsunami warning communications system to alert authorities and people in affected areas, to enable them to make a timely response.

Mr. Yoshito Nakajima, Counselor at the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam, shared the experience gained from the earthquake that struck Japan in 2011, saying that “raising awareness and preparing for natural disasters among the younger generation is crucial.”

Children and young people are the future of any country but they are among the most vulnerable to natural disasters, according to the UNDP’s Resident Representative in Vietnam, Ms. Caitlin Wiesen. “We must equip them with knowledge and skills that may potentially save their lives,” she said. “Education and disaster prevention in schools are important, because they 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 at selected schools in 18 Asia-Pacific countries. In Vietnam, the campaign is being organized in partnership with Live and Learn and the Vietnam Student magazine. 

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