As the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is celebrated globally, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced its support for a new disaster risk management program to be implemented by the Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC). The project is expected to benefit an estimated 20,000 people in Bac Lieu, Hoa Binh, and Quang Tri provinces by helping them be better prepared for natural disasters. USAID’s support is aimed at helping Vietnam’s communities increase their resilience against disasters.
The program will utilize a community-based approach to improve the disaster risk management knowledge and skills of VNRC staff and volunteers, including members of local Disaster Response Teams, as well as local government, community members, school teachers and students. VNRC also plans to provide training on first aid, community vulnerability and capacity assessment, and disaster risk management/climate change adaptation at the national, provincial, and commune levels. Vietnam remains vulnerable to a host of weather-related risks and climate change impacts, including floods. Between 2013 and October 2015, Vietnam experienced eight tropical cyclones, with heavy rains and strong winds that affected more than 2 million people.
Since 2000, USAID through its Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) has provided more than $14 million to address emergency response needs and disaster risk management activities in Vietnam. In the most recent U.S. fiscal year, USAID provided a total $3.5 million to support disaster risk management programs in Vietnam. Cooperation on natural disasters is featured in the United States – Vietnam Joint Vision Statement that resulted from General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s meeting with President Obama in July 2015.