Vietnam: Inclusive community based disaster risk reduction assessment

Malteser International

From September 6th to October 24th, 28 disability inclusive community based disaster risk assessments (CBDRA) have been conducted in Quang Tri and Quang Ngai province, Central Vietnam. 3.582 villagers – including 785 persons with disabilities – took part in the assessments performed in 15 villages of Cam Thuy and Cam Hieu commune, Cam Lo district, and 13 villages of Hanh Nhan and Hanh Duc commune, Nghia Hanh district. The assessments, lasting three and half days per village, were facilitated by representatives of people with disabilities and members of the commune Technical Assistant Groups of the disaster risk committees (TAG-CBDRM committee). Furthermore, all village community groups and representatives from different agencies at different levels also participated and monitored the assessments.

During the CBDRA information was collected on Community Safety, Business and Production as well as Water and Sanitation. A focus was given to at-risk groups such as children, people with disabilities or elderlies who generally do less contribute to disaster risk reduction topics. However, this challenge was overcome by using various participatory tools such as Focus Group Discussions, Disaster Maps, Seasonal Calendars, Priority Ranking and so forth. Each tool helped the villagers to express the effects caused by disasters and to analyze their vulnerabilities and capacities. Upon this, risk reduction solutions taking into account community and local authority resources were synthetized.

According to the villagers they face different effects of disasters due to recurring floods, storms and droughts: human losses and injuries; collapsed or damaged houses and furniture, losses of agricultural products including rice and animals and water related diseases caused by polluted environment or lack of clean water. The villagers have suffered these losses because they have until now not been supported to reduce their vulnerability and to increase the available capacity of proactive response to disasters to reduce the risks.

Nonetheless, through the analysis the villagers have also recognized that their capacity to respond to disasters is high. For instance, there is a high sense of community and mutual support during disasters and some experience available in risk reduction measures with regards to protecting houses, animals (flood proofed cages for animals) and goods. Moreover, each village has its own rescue team, loudspeaker system and few strong and high houses for people to evacuate. In 2017 villagers have started to participate in community based disaster risk management planning at village and commune level.

During the assessments solutions for risk reduction have been proposed including organization of communication events to teach children not to play in flood water, train children to swim, encourage villagers to evacuate animals and evacuate early; train villagers on how to prevent water related diseases and cultivate in a way that is adaptive to disasters and climate change. Besides, the villagers also proposed to upgrade village meeting houses to become evacuation shelters; to set up water containers and to support building latrines for poor families. Moreover, the provision of additional first aid and rescue equipment for village rescue teams was highlighted.

Mr Dang Van Kheo, a person with disability in Xuan Vinh, Hanh Duc commune shared “This is the first time our village implements a disaster risk assessment and we all involve. I gave us the opportunity to share our situation in disasters, to express our needs. I think this activity is essential and meaningful, especially for an at-risk person like me in the society.”

Not only Mr Dang Van Khao but also many others recognized that the participation of people with disabilities in the assessments has helped all the people in the community – including the local authorities – to better understand the needs of people with disabilities for a reasonable disaster risk management plan for whole community.

The disability inclusive CBDRA are part of the project ”Widening participation of people with disabilities in Community based Disaster Risk Management in Vietnam” implemented in Quang Tri and Quang Ngai province and funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and Malteser International. It is called “Community based” because the community’s available resources such as time, money, facilities, labor, needs and opinions of all the different groups are mobilized for disaster risks reduction. "Inclusive" here means all the at-risk groups are provided support according to their needs in order to effectively participate in the risk assessment.

The project is co-implemented by the Disaster Management Policy and Technology Center (DMPTC), Quang Tri and Quang Ngai Disabled People Organizations (DPO), Quang Ngai Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs together with Disaster Management Centers and different relevant agencies.

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