Vietnam needs 100,000 flood proof houses on the coast: UNDP

By Tat Dinh   December 17, 2020 | 08:40 pm PT
Vietnam needs 100,000 flood proof houses on the coast: UNDP
A flood proof house built with the support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Quang Ngai Province, central Vietnam. Photo courtesy of UNDP.
Vietnam’s coastline needs 100,000 houses that can withstand storms and floods, 24,000 of them immediately, according to the UNDP.

A United Nations Development Program project to improve the resilience of Vietnam’s vulnerable coastal communities to climate change impacts has helped build 3,500 safe houses against storms and floods and recover around 3,300 ha of mangrove forests this year, Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, said at a Hanoi conference Thursday.

She said the UNDP plans to build an additional 4,000 houses next year, helping 20,000 people gain access to information on climate change and natural disasters, she said, adding that her agency would continue to support Vietnam in natural disaster management over the next decade.

Tran Quang Hoai, head of the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority, said the houses built by the UNDP in central Vietnam were still standing after the region’s historic storms and floods in October and November, which had demolished over 1,500 houses and damaged 240,000 others.

La Thi Kim Ngan, deputy head of the National Institute of Architecture, said that authorities and investors need to create a comprehensive model for housing complexes, complete with infrastructure like electricity, clean water and waste management systems.

Flood resilient houses can become homestay accommodations and help the region develop economically, she added.

Nguyen Hoang Hiep, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said his ministry was cooperating with the architecture institute and the Ministry of Construction to develop appropriate and safe housing models to withstand natural disasters.

It is estimated that by 2025, Vietnam would have around 30 million people living in areas prone to natural disasters. Many of them are likely to be poverty stricken.

Rapid urbanization and economic development can intensify natural disaster risks for Vietnam's coastline and wipe billions of dollars off its economic growth over the next decade, a World Bank report warned in October.

Around 11.8 million people in coastal provinces face the threat of intense flooding, and over 35 percent of settlements are located on eroding coastlines. Each year, an average of $852 million, along with around 316,000 jobs in sectors like agriculture, aquaculture and tourism, are at risk from riverine and coastal flooding, the report said.

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