Viet Nam

Report to the National Assembly of Vietnam on the huge flooding in Central provinces in early November 1999. Relief missions and production restoration measures

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Assessment
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Posted
Originally published
I. Flood and Rain:
1. The Synopsis of Flooding and Rain:

Due to the effect of cold air in combination with activities of the tropical conversion and the tropical depression (from 01 to 04 November 1999), there were heavy rains in the Central Provinces (most notably, very heavy rains in areas from Quang Tri to Quang Nam).

Mean rainfall from 01 to 06 November 1999 was at 600 to 900 mm (1,346 mm at the Thach Han gauging station; 1,453 mm at Tan Phuoc; 1,370 mm at Hiep Duc; 1,211 mm at Lau Cau; most notably, 2,271 mm at A Luoi; and 2,288 mm at Hue).

General features of the rains were as follows: the rains occurred on a large scale and concentrated in a short period (in 2 to 3 days). Mean rainfall reached 1,384 mm in Hue City. This is the highest level of rainfall in 100 years in our country since 1886.

Heavy rains concentrated in a short period caused large flooding in many areas from Quang Binh to Binh Dinh Provinces.

Huge flooding with a peak that surpassed Alarm Level III by 0.5 to 1.0 m occurred on most rivers in the flood-affected areas. There were particularly large floods, approximating the historical flood levels, on many rivers in the Central Provinces. The flood water levels on the Vu Gia River at Ai Nghia gauging station were 10.27 m (1.47 m above Alarm Level III). The flood water level on the Thu Bon River at the Lau Cau gauging station was at 5.23 m (1.53 m above Alarm Level III). The flood water level on the Tra Khuc River at the Tra Khuc gauging station was at 7.77 m (0.27 m above Alarm Level III). The flood water level on the Ve River at the Ve gauging station was at 5.410 m (1.31 m above Alarm Level III).

Flood water levels on some rivers surpassed historical flood levels. For example, flood water level on the Thach Han River at the Quang Tri gauging station was at 7.29 m (0.18 m above the historical flood level in 1983). The flood water level on the Bo River at the Phu Oc gauging station was at 5.18 m (0.29 m above the historical flood level in 1983). Notably, flood water levels on the Huong River at the Hue gauging station were at 5.94 m (1.06 m above the historical flood level in 1983 and 2.94 m above Alarm Level III). The flood water levels on the Huong River rose rapidly, at its highest rate ever, about 1 m per hour.

2. The Synopsis of Inundation:

The huge floods and rains caused particularly large floods and deep inundation on a large scale and heavily destroyed inundated areas.

All districts of Thua Thien Hue Province and many districts of Quang Tri, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quang Binh, Da Nang, and Binh Dinh Provinces were in deep inundation: 20 districts in this region were 2 to 4m under water.

The 1A National Highway was 2 m under water. Transportation from the North to the South was blocked for many days.

11 communes in Phu Loc, Phu Vang Districts were isolated. 10 of ships, 2 patrol canoes, and hundred of houses were swept away.

II. Monitoring and relief activities:

1. The Hydro-Meteorological Service sent warning information on floods to provinces. The Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control sent official telegrams to provincial people's committees and to provincial committees for flood and storm control of Central Provinces to steer for coping with huge and extremely flood. However, heavy rains came successively caused huge floods and steering activities for floods damage mitigation met lots of difficulties.

2. Residents and localities respond to flooding:

  • Right after receiving information by telephone from the CCFSC, the Hydro-Meteorological Service and the Provincial Committees for Flood and Storm Control actively implemented measures in response to the floods. Leaders were assigned to come to inundated areas to monitor the preparedness and response activities.
  • Every force and means of transportation were mobilised to help evacuate people to safe areas.
    Clinics and hospitals provided free treatments to patients.
  • There were not big fluctuations in food and rice prices.
  • Many flooded districts, provinces, and cities managed to help districts and provinces that are more difficult to reach so that they could still receive assistance while waiting for the Central Government's relief.
  • Foods and cooked rice were urgently transported to flood-affected areas. Many people in trying to help others get out of the flooded areas, were swept away by the floods.
  • Many multi-storeyed houses, schools, clinics, and hospitals were used as residence for flood-affected people.
3. Urgent relief activities:

Right after receiving information on the synopsis of floods from the Party's Secretary General, the Prime Minister closely monitored the relief mission.

  • He sent urgent telegrams to the Provincial People's Committees, requesting them to immediately implement preparedness and response activities and provide people in flood-stricken areas with emergency relief. He requested the CCFSC, in co-ordination with relevant Ministries and Sectors, to immediately support and assist localities in responding to floods. The Ministry of Defence was required to immediately mobilise forces and means of transportation to help transport aid commodities to the flood-affected areas.
  • He assigned the Government's special mission to come to the Centre in an attempt to directly monitor the response activities. Based on the flood and rain situation, the mission requested the Government to implement emergency measures.
  • All forces were mobilised to clear air and land transportation and create favourable conditions for transporting food and aid commodities to flood-stricken areas.
  • Army Forces, Airlines, and relevant Sectors urgently established the Gia Lam - Vinh - Dong Hoi - Phu Bai - Da Nang air bridge and the Tan Son Nhat - Da Nang - Chu Lai - Phu Bai land-way and water-way.
  • 24 army planes, 280 trucks, 2 information monitoring cars, 2 switchboard cars, and many means of transportation were mobilised to support the relief mission.
  • 800 tonnes of aid commodities (which included noodles, life buoys, clothes, medicines, blankets, mosquito nets, and other necessities) were transported to flooded-stricken areas. The Government provided 8,600 tonnes of rice from the National Reserve Warehouse to provide the flood-stricken areas.
Relief forces and local people rescued 600 people who were caught by flooding; 28 thousands of people were taken to safe areas; 1 million people were provided with foods and aid commodities.
  • The Health Care Sector immediately implemented its Health Care Network. Medicines and water-filtering chemicals were transported to flooded provinces. Many doctors and nurses came to the areas to treat and take care of flood victims.
  • The Communication and Transportation Sector immediately repaired the roads and railway to help transport aid communities from the North and the South to the Central Provinces.
  • The Post Sector immediately established a communication hot line to help Thua Thien - Hue Province, as well as isolated provinces, restore contact with the Central Government.
  • The Electric Sector immediately repaired electric pole No.317 and the 110 kV line in Da Nang and Hue Cities. At the same time, the cable wires, and high - low voltage networks were also restored as soon as the floodwaters fell.
  • The Agriculture and Rural Development mobilised rice from the two Food Incorporations in the South and the North and organised to transport salt and aid commodities to flood-affected people.
  • Other Ministries and Sectors actively implemented the Instruction Telegram of the Prime Minister. They quickly prepared materials to help the Central Provinces restore production as floodwaters fell.
  • Journalist teams, media, television, and radio immediately broadcast information and called for material and spiritual support from people living in the rest of the country.
  • At the time of flooding, the Standing Office of CCFSC and the Hydro-Meteorology Service's staff were working 24 hours a day to bridge the communication between Localities and Sectors in an effort to sum up situation reports and monitor the co-ordination among sectors and localities.
  • During the flooding, the Central Government held regular sessions to closely monitor the situation. Secretary General Le Kha Phieu, President Tran Duc Luong, and Chairman of the National Assembly Nong Duc Manh sent telegrams to show their sympathy for flood victims. A Politburo delegation was sent to the Central Provinces to share losses with local residents.
  • The delegation also inspected and monitored the local people in livelihood and production stabilisation after the floods.
    The Government requested the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids, and Social Affairs, Ministry of Trade, the CCFSC, the Fatherland Front, and the Red Cross Organisation to work out optimal measures on relief missions to ensure proper and quick aid commodity distribution.
  • Media, radio, and television quickly broadcast a synopsis of the flooding in the Central Provinces. The news immediately attracted great interest of people all over the country. Nation-wide, people immediately gathered aid commodities that would later be sent to the flood-affected areas.
  • Information on flooding in the Central Provinces broadcast on television disseminated by public media attracted the great interest of people and soldiers all over the country and aboard. In responding to the supporting movement, many people went to the airports, the television and broadcasting stations, the Fatherland Front and relief organisations to make their contribution to relief activities.
  • The Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee has received over 1,100 people, many agencies, and organisations who came to make their contribution to the supporting movement. The total contributions are 18.5 billion VND, $15.000, F12.500, Baht 1.000 and about 300 tons of goods.
  • 40 Provinces and their Districts have raised about 38 billion VND (in cash and kind).
  • The Vietnam Red Cross has raised about 8 billion VND and directly distributed it to targeted provinces.
  • Gold Heart Fund" of the Labour Newspaper has raised about 6.5 billion VND.
  • International Organisations and overseas Governments have supported our efforts with about $837,000 (in cash and kind).
The Steering Committee has distributed cash and goods to provinces. At the local levels, the People's Committees have established Receiving Departments to help receive and transport aid commodities to flood-affected areas.

4. Situational Damages:

According to reports from Quang Binh to Binh Dinh Provinces, as of 20:00 on 12 November 1999, the situational damages are as follows:

Human:

  • Number of people dead: 592 (especially 351 in Hue City and 80 in Quang Nam Province)
  • Number of people missing: 30
  • Number of people injured: 412
  • Number of household evacuated: 15,000.
  • Number of people in need of food relief: 1,384,313.
Residence:
  • Number of houses collapsed and swept away: 41,846.
  • Number of houses inundated and damaged: 608,716.
  • Schools collapsed or swept away: 570 rooms.
  • Number of schools inundated and damaged: 3,679 rooms.
  • Hospitals and clinics collapsed and swept away: 75
  • Hospitals and clinics inundated and damaged: 480.
Agriculture:
  • Paddy crops destroyed: 21,720 ha
  • Non-paddy crops destroyed: 26,640 ha.
  • Volume of paddy inundated: 219,00 tonnes (85,000 tonnes in Quang Tri Province; 80,000 tonnes in Hue City)
  • Volume of rice seeds damaged: 11,800 tonnes.
Fishery:
  • Ships and boats sunk: 575.
  • Ships and boats damaged 156.
Transportation:
  • The 1A National Highway was heavily damaged. Particularly at the Hai Van Mountain Pass which was broken at K. 892 + 600 (K = kilometre), creating an deep abyss 20 meters.
  • The Long Dai - My Duc section of the Trans-national railway was eroded for 300m. Many portions of railway form Da Nang to Quang Tri Provinces were also broken.
  • 4+5; 3+6 Quays of the Han River Port were destroyed.
  • Sewage system destroyed and damaged: 1,475 units.
  • The total volume of land and stone sliced and swept away: 3.71 million m3.
Water resources:
  • Small canals, ponds, and dykes were heavily eroded. Many small sluices and pumping stations were inundated and damaged.
  • The total volume of land and stone sliced and swept away: 8.8 million m3.
Electricity:
  • Electric poles destroyed: 2,640 units.
  • The entire electric system of Thua Thien - Hue Province was paralysed.
  • The country's electric system was cut off, causing difficulties for relief mission.
Communication:
  • Due to deep inundation, equipment, switchboards, and electric sources were destroyed. The Hue television broadcasting station was inundated and its operation came to halt.
  • Many warehouses and properties were inundated.
The total damages (reported by Provincial People's Committees) estimated at VND 3,300 billion.

5. The response at the Central level and the support of people in other areas over the country:

  • Leaders of the Government, the State, the Communist Party, and the National Assembly sent telegrams to ask after local people, assigned official's teams to localities to inspect the actual situation, and mobilised all forces to assist flood stricken provinces in overcoming the effects of floods
  • Right after getting information of flood situation in Central Provinces, people in other areas over the country raised their very kind supports.
  • The Viet Nam Fatherland Front and Viet Nam Red Cross organised, mobilised, and appealed the supports for Central Provinces.
  • According to report of the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids, and Social Affair on 18 November 1999, as of 23:00 on 17 November 1999, an amount of 52.1 billion VND and 1,871,481 tons of commodities have been distributed to seven floods stricken provinces.
  • Prime Minister decided to supply free-of-charge 33,000 tons of food-stock from the National Reserve Source; to supplement VND 100 billion for rehabilitating the livelihood of the population; to supplement funds of VND 100 billion in 1999 to repair infrastructure construction such as hospitals, clinics, schools, transportation structures, hydraulic structures, etc; and to loan affected people an amount of VND 500 billion with low interest rates and without mortgage for overcoming the effects of floods
III. Works to be done in the time ahead:
  1. After emergency relief, it is necessary to help flood-affected people to restore production and stabilise their lives.
  2. It is of equal importance to fight diseases and supply water-treatment chemicals to flood-affected areas. It is necessary to mobilise all forces to clean the environment, bury dead animals, and drain dirty water.
  3. Help people to rebuild collapsed houses and repair damaged houses.
  4. Restore clinics, hospitals, and schools to create places for patients to get treatment and places for pupils to study.
  5. Immediately rehabilitate the 1A National Highway at Hai Van Pass, especially the roads leading to mountainous and the remote areas, to ensure safe transportation in this section and the entire road system of the Provinces.
  6. Supply seeds of vegetable, subsidiary crops, and especially winter-spring rice seed to farmers. Rehabilitate and repair irrigation system such as canals, pumping stations, power lines, and sluices. Apply special measures to eliminate epidemics in cattle and livestock.
  7. Continue to strengthen and maintain the social security, strictly punish bad and negative behaviours, strengthen the market administration, and prevent smuggling and speculation.
  8. Restore the electric system and post office in communes and wards, quickly stabilise people's life.
  9. Draw out experiences in monitoring preparedness and response activities. Concentrate on restoring agricultural production and stabilising people's life. Immediately evaluate and recognise exceptional advance models.
IV. Long-term measures:

After the flood in 1998 and the particularly huge flood this year, we should concentrate on the following measures to raise the Ability of disaster preparedness and response in the Central Provinces:

  1. Prepare plans for residences after the floods, of which the top priority is residences for people in frequently deep-in-flood area of the Central. Increase household prevention and response capacity. All the schools, clinics and headquarters of communes need to be built solidly.
  2. Increase the height of the road surface and widen the aperture of roads, sluices, and bridges for faster flood drainage, minimizing the flood damages, and restoring transportation in the main areas such as Quang Nam, Thua Thien - Hue and Quang Binh Provinces; develop quickly the tunnel a cross the Hai Van Mountain Pass, roads for flood resistance, and Truong Son Road.
  3. Protect reservoirs (especially the big reservoirs) and increase the solidity of the important canals; protect the large residential and urban areas. Implement the safety-increasing programs in some years.
  4. Develop the afforestation plans; apply earlier parts of the 5 million ha of forest program for provinces of Central Vietnam (as a priority); implement afforestation and forest protection measures; ban forest -resource exploitation.
  5. Provide long-term loans with favorable interest rates (funded by the State) to people in heavily flooded areas for production development and residence rehabilitation.
  6. Increase the response capacity at all levels to immediately cope with flooding situations; increase self-help ability at all levels.
The National Assembly,

The recent flooding has caused serious losses to our people in the Central Provinces. In overcoming the flood aftermath, the tradition of solidarity of our people is greatly reflected through the relief and rescue missions. The State, of the people and for the people, and the Military Forces under the Party's leadership are most brightly shinning.

V. Immediate work to be done at present:

Presently, the weather is getting better. Flood water levels are falling rapidly. After the relief phase, it is necessary to enter into the rehabilitation phase to help people in the Central Provinces to stabilize their lives. Among these rehabilitation tasks, the most pressing ones to be done are:

  1. Localities should continue to receive, distribute, and transport aid commodities to households in an attempt to avoid cold, disease, and starvation.
  2. Prevent epidemics, supply medicines, and provide water treatment. Organize to clean the environment in wards, communes, and districts to gather waste, bury dead animals, and drain dirty water. Mobilize all health care forces and assign them to come to flood-affected areas to help clean the environment, provide health treatment, and supply medicine to people.
  3. Assist people to rebuild collapsed houses and repair destroyed houses. To help homeless people have places to reside. It is necessary to mobilize the Army Forces and relevant Sectors to help people in this housing rehabilitation. Great interest should be put to help poor and deserving families.
  4. Restore hospitals to provide health care treatment to people; and restore schools to provide learning places for pupils.
  5. Quickly restore damaged transport routes and infrastructure. Ensure safe transportation on the National Highways and Provincial transport system, especially in remote and mountainous areas, creating favorable condition for aid commodity transportation, production, and rehabilitation. Restore Commune Post Systems and Electric Systems.
  6. Determine planting seed requirements to work out seed-supply plans. Restore and repair water resource works. Work out measures to fight animal disease epidemics. These are the most important measures to rehabilitate production and actively avoid possible starvation of the people.
  7. Consolidate security and social order. Strengthen market management, and prevent speculation, and prevent price increase.
  8. Complement collectives and individuals who were courageous in rescue missions.
The Government is monitoring relevant Ministries, Sectors, scientific agencies, and localities to assess and draw out experience in flood preparedness and mitigation. We are mapping out plans for residence protection, transportation, water resource works, afforestation, and river training. These problems will be shown in plans for economic development in 2000 and will be prominent in the new 5-year plan (2001 - 2010).

The National Assembly,

Due to strong good will and experience in responding to this natural disaster, together with the monitoring of the Party and the State; as well as assistance from local authorities, people from all over the country, Military Forces, and international friends, people in the flood-stricken areas have successfully minimised losses caused by flooding. Our fellow countrymen in the Central Provinces will overcome all difficulties and challenges in rehabilitating production and stabilising their lives.

Thank you.