The German Red Cross and the Vietnam National Red Cross joined forces in a Disaster Risk Reduction project in Thua Thien Hue Province. German State Secretary Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz visited their activities
T.T. HUE – A man is bleeding heavily from his forehead. He has been hit by a falling tree. Behind him, another injured man lies on the ground. An emergency response team rushes to their rescue with a stretcher. They dress the wound, immobilize a fractured leg and carry the two injured persons to the health centre.
Luckily, this was only an emergency simulation exercise carried out by the local Red Cross Chapter in Phong Thu Commune, Phong Dien District. Such activity is part of a Disaster Risk Reduction training for particularly disaster-prone communes in Thua Thien Hue Province. The project is a cooperation between the German Red Cross (GRC) and the Vietnam National Red Cross (VNRC), funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.
The drill also included an emergency briefing of the Commune’s Committee for Flood and Storm Control to coordinate the disaster response measures. To illustrate the various possible actions in which emergency response teams are trained, the drill includes retrofitting houses to protect homes from extreme conditions during storms, an evacuation exercise involving women, men, children and the elderly and a spectacular drowning rescue from the nearby O Lau river followed by a reanimation simulation - scenes that were applauded by the delegation from Germany. “Water is life, but sometimes it is also jeopardizing our life. So watch and skill yourself for all situations of catastrophes”, said Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development who visited the project on Thursday [11.10.2012] during his visit to Vietnam.
Safety measures for homes and schools
Owing to its exposed coastal location, Vietnam is among those countries most severely affected by climate change, with Central Vietnam particularly vulnerable since this part of the country is hit by 65% of the storms, typhoons and floods which occur in Vietnam. In recent times, many households have been facing floods and/or typhoons with the average of 3- 4 times a year, with a rising trend. This risk pattern has left many families unable to rebuild their livelihood on their own accord due to consequential damages or injuries.
The project aims to enable the people in the six targeted communes to better prepare for, mitigate and respond to natural disasters. “It is important to have emergency responders”, says GRC Country Representative Frank Küppers. “As we know from various experiences all over the world, often disasters are exacerbated by the lack of capacity of communities and authorities to provide response immediately after an event.” Through VNRC trainers, the project trained Emergency Response Teams at the commune and hamlet levels. Their knowledge and skills learned in these trainings where presented in the disaster drill.
Further, the early warning system in the communes through their loudspeaker networks has been upgraded and expanded, and the communes were supported in producing community action plans for disaster risk reduction. An evacuation bridge was built for a village that has been frequently cut off by floods. The German Red Cross also provided First Aid- and Search&Rescue equipment as well as rescue boats. Families and schools have been trained how they can best prepare for likely disasters and what they should do in the event of a disaster until external aid arrives. After teachers received trainings from the Vietnam Red Cross staff, they provided lessons for students on specific risks and preparations in the event of a disaster. “We built the capacity in the community, especially for students and teachers. I believe that the project enables the people to minimize damage and loss after disasters”, says Doan Van Lai, VNCR Chairman of Phong Dien District.
“The project showed how the different components of Disaster Risk Reduction coming together”, said Dr. Heike Spieker, Deputy Director International Services / National Relief Division at German Red Cross Headquarters, who was also observing the drill with the German delegation. “This is not just theory, but actual practice – and it works. With this approach, the number of injured people and the severity of injuries can be reduced”, she said.
The project implementation that started in September 2010 is now in its second phase and will be completed by December 2012. Approximately 28,000 people in six communes will benefit from the project.
New Climate change adaptation projects in the South
In the Mekong Delta, the German Red Cross, in consortium with VNRC and Australian Red Cross (ARC) will also soon begin the implementation of the ‘Climate Smart Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction’ project in the provinces of An Giang and Kien Giang through the funding of AusAID. This project integrates climate change adaptation components which include climate risk assessment, sustainable livelihood options and health and hygiene promotion. Additionally, GRC is also working on the piloting ‘Safe School’ model for disaster preparedness in schools.
For questions, please contact:
Kara Devonna Siahaan
GRC Disaster Risk Reduction/Climate Change Adaptation Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. +84 169 972 0146
Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh
GRC Disaster Risk Reduction Project Manager
Tel. +84 98 338 1604
- Text written by Anemi Wick -