Vietnam among 10 countries hardest hit by weather disasters in 2017

By Nguyen Quy   December 9, 2018 | 05:57 pm PT
Vietnam among 10 countries hardest hit by weather disasters in 2017
Typhoon Damrey knocks down a streetside electric pole in the beach town Nha Trang after making landfall in central provinces of Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen in November 2017. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
Vietnam suffered deadly damage from natural disasters last year, making it one of the 10 countries most severely affected.

Vietnam stood sixth in the annual Global Climate Risk Index for 2017 released last week, one rank down from 2016. 

The index, developed by Germanwatch, an environmental policy group based in Bonn, analyses quantified impacts of extreme weather events – both in terms of fatalities as well as economic losses incurred.

The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico was ranked the hardest-hit and the island of Dominica came in third place after both were battered by Hurricane Maria in September last year.

Sri Lanka has took the second spot in the 2017 index due to the serious impacts of heavy landslides and floods that occurred in May last year that killed 200 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

The rest of the top 10 nations comprised Nepal, Peru, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh and Thailand.

Vietnam was struck by a record-breaking number of 16 tropical storms last year that killed more than 390 people and injured 668 others, mostly in northern and central regions.

Natural disasters, mostly flooding and tropical storms, caused damage worth VND60 trillion ($2.57 billion), 1.5 times higher than 2016’s figure. 

The Germanwatch report highlighted that Typhoon Damrey which wreaked havoc on the popular resort town of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province in early November last year was the worst storm to hit the country in 20 years.

Damrey alone killed at least 106 people and triggered around VND22 trillion (nearly $1 billion) in loss, accounting for nearly half of the damage incurred from the disastrous weather last year.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a meeting last year that Vietnam’s weather forecasting capability has not met the demands.

"Several localities were unprepared or didn’t buckle down in the face of disasters," he said at a meeting with legislators.

UNICEF also said in a statement last year that the lack of communication at community level had led to poor preparations for Damrey, leaving 150,000 children still at risk of malnutrition more than 10 days after the storm had passed.

The Germanwatch report also revealed that Vietnam secured the 9th position in the blacklist of countries hardest hit by natural disasters over the 20-year period from 1998-2017.

Puerto Rico is at the top of the global index, followed by Honduras and Myanmar.

According to the report, more than 526,000 people died in over 11,500 extreme weather events including storms, floods and heat waves worldwide, between 1998 and 2017. The economic damages amounted to about of $3.47 trillion, according to Germanwatch.

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