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Technology helps reduce flood loss

(11:16:13 AM 16/03/2015)
(Tin Môi Trường) - Placing remote sensing technology in river basins gave early forecasts to residents, helping to minimise flood related losses, experts said in Ha Noi yesterday.


 Technology helps reduce flood loss

According to recent results from a pilot project that ran from April 2011 to March 2014 in Viet Nam, Bangladesh and the Philippines, the technology aided governments in their efforts to set up and upgrade flood supervising and forecasting systems.

Yusuke Muraki, Asian Development Bank's Space Technology Specialist, said that the project applied space-based technology (SBT) and information and communication technology (ICT) to manage losses caused by flooding in the Hong (Red) and Thao river valleys.

The project's team of experts set up a pilot station to measure rainfall in the river valley in Phu Tho Province's Ha Hoa District. The results were then sent to communes' people's committees and heads of villages. The information helped get flood forecasts to local residents, he said. Tran Van Thao, deputy director of the Ha Hoa District Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that earlier, warnings about floods were sent via post to the communes, so it took time, about four hours.

"We also used the telephone, but that also takes time and is costly because we need to make many calls to different people," he said.

As a result, flood prevention and control teams in communes had significant delays in their response efforts, which caused great losses.

"When the project was conducted, forecast information was sent to many different people in just a few minutes instead of hours like before," said Thao.

To further improve results from the pilot project, Thao suggested that more training courses for local authorities should be done, and better instructing local residents on prevention work would help them understand that flood prevention is vital.

Dinh Thai Hung, an expert from the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Weather Forecasting, said that global climate change made forecasting floods and submergence in lowland areas increasingly important for socio-economic development.

He explained that Viet Nam largely still lacked such forecasting models, citing the Thao River valley of the Hong (Red) River system. Despite covering an area of 48,000sq.km, it currently does not have any structures built strong enough to give forecasts and aid flood control in the area.

Statistics from the centre recorded that the biggest incident of known flooding was in a part of the Thao River passing through the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai. On August 18, 2012, 60cm of water was added to its river banks every hour.

"Setting up a system to keep close watch on, supervise and give forecasts about the floods along the Thao River valley will be very important," said Hung.

Viet Nam has one of the highest precedence of natural calamity in the Asia area, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.