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Cablegate: Vietnam - Where Disaster Preparedness Is Serious

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HANOI 002686

SIPDIS
UNCLASSIFIED PTQ0712

PAGE 01 HANOI 02686 01 OF 02 060950Z
ACTION AID-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 CIAE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EAP-00 EB-00
FBIE-00 UTED-00 FDRE-01 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
L-00 VCE-00 DCP-01 NSAE-00 PM-00 IRM-00 TEST-00
TRSE-00 ECA-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/002W
------------------04253A 060950Z /38
P 060936Z NOV 02
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8026
INFO AMEMBASSY MANILA PRIORITY
AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
JICPAC HONOLULU HI
SECDEF WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002686

SIPDIS

AIDAC

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD
USAID/DCHA/FFP FOR BRAUSE AND LANDIS
USAID/DCHA/OFDA FOR THAYER
MANILA FOR USAID/OFDA FOR DOLAN AND ROGERS
USAID/ANE FOR FERRARA
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02686 01 OF 02 060950Z
CINCPAC FOR FPA, J3 AND J4
SECDEF FOR OSD/LIC/SOLIC/PKHA
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/AP/OKSA/HPPHO
PACIFIC COMMAND

AID/DCHA/OFDA THAYER
MANILA FOR OFDA TDOLAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM - WHERE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS IS SERIOUS
BUSINESS


1. SUMMARY: USAID/DCHA/OFDA'S REGIONAL COORDINATOR FOR
ASIA VISITED HANOI OCTOBER 27-30 TO REVIEW DISASTER
PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE ACTIVITIES INCLUDING THOSE FUNDED
BY OFDA. THE GVNGVN CONTINUES TO DEMONSTRATE AN EXCEPTIONAL
COMMITMENT TO DISASTER PREPAREDNESS THAT IS PERHAPS
UNMATCHED IN THE ASIA REGION. THIS COMMITMENT STEMS FROM A
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS CULTURE SHAPED BY VIETNAM'S EXTREME
VULNERABILITY TO NATURAL DISASTERS SUCH AS FLOODS AND
TYPHOONS. FLOOD LEVELS IN THE MEKONG BASIN THIS YEAR WERE
COMPARABLE TO 2000 AND 2001, BUT EFFECTIVE GVN PREPAREDNESS
MEASURES GREATLY REDUCED LOSS OF LIFE AND PROPERTY.
USAID/OFDA IS SUPPORTING TWO ONGOING DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
PROJECTS IN VIETNAM, INCLUDING A FLOOD EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
IN CENTRAL VIETNAM AND A COASTAL STORM EARLY WARNING SYSTEM.
USAID/OFDA HAS ALSO PROVIDED EMERGENCY RELIEF ASSISTANCE TO
VIETNAM TOTALING ABOUT USD 1.3 MILLION SINCE 1999.

2. USAID/DCHA/OFDA'S REGIONAL COORDINATOR FOR ASIA VISITED
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02686 01 OF 02 060950Z
HANOI OCTOBER 27-30 TO REVIEW DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND
RESPONSE ACTIVITIES IN VIETNAM, INCLUDING THOSE FUNDED BY
OFDA. REGIONAL COORDINATOR ROB THAYER MET WITH EMBASSY AND
USAID COLLEAGUES, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS
REPRESENTATIVES, NGOS, AND A GVN DISASTER MANAGEMENT UNIT
WHICH IMPLEMENTS TWO OFDA-FUNDED DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
PROJECTS IN COLLABORATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS
DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (UNDP).

3. A DISASTER PREPAREDNESS CULTURE: THE GVN CONTINUES TO
DEMONSTRATE AN EXCEPTIONAL COMMITMENT TO NATURAL DISASTER
PREPAREDNESS THAT IS PERHAPS UNMATCHED IN THE ASIA REGION.
GOVERNMENT INVESTMENTS IN DISASTER PREPAREDNESS DWARF
CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, AND THE
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AGENDA HERE IS CLEARLY DRIVEN BY
NATIONAL PRIORITIES AND NOT BY DONORS.

4. VIETNAM'S COMMITMENT TO DISASTER PREPAREDNESS STEMS FROM
WHAT HAS BEEN CALLED A DISASTER PREPAREDNESS CULTURE, SHAPED
BY THE COUNTRY'S HISTORIC VULNERABILITY TO FLOODS AND
TYPHOONS. RECENT REMINDERS OF THIS VULNERABILITY INCLUDE THE
DEVASTATING CENTRAL VIETNAM FLOODS OF 1999, AND THE MEKONG
RIVER FLOODS OF 2000, EACH RESULTING IN HUNDREDS OF DEATHS
AND PROPERTY LOSSES IN THE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
EVEN HANOI ITSELF, PROTECTED FROM THE RED RIVER FOR
CENTURIES BY AN ELABORATE SYSTEM OF DIKES, IS FEARED TO BE
VULNERABLE NOW, AS NATURAL FLOOD PROTECTION SUCH AS UPSTREAM
FORESTATION IS DEPLETED.

5. THE GVN WAS REMARKABLY WELL-PREPARED FOR THIS YEAR'S
MEKONG DELTA FLOODING WHICH PEAKED IN SEPTEMBER, ACCORDING
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 02686 01 OF 02 060950Z
TO RELIEF AGENCIES WORKING IN THE AREA. WHILE FLOOD LEVELS
WERE COMPARABLE TO THOSE OF 2000 AND 2001, LOSS OF LIFE AND
PROPERTY WERE CONSIDERABLY REDUCED BY CREATION OF "ISLANDS"
AS SAFE HAVENS FOR EVACUEES AND THEIR BELONGINGS (IN MOST
CASES ELEVATED AND WIDENED ROADWAYS); EFFECTIVE PRE-
POSITIONING OF RELIEF SUPPLIES IN FLOOD-PRONE SUB-DISTRICTS;
AND STRENGTHENING OF SECONDARY DIKES WHICH PROTECTED MUCH OF
THE FOOD CROP LONG ENOUGH TO ENABLE HARVESTING.

6. THE COORDINATING BODY FOR NATURAL DISASTER RESPONSE AND
PREPAREDNESS IN VIETNAM IS THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE FOR FLOOD
AND STORM CONTROL, HEADED BY THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND
RURAL DEVELOPMENT, WHICH OVERSEES A NETWORK OF PROVINCIAL
AND DISTRICT-LEVEL COMMITTEES. THE PRIME MINISTER TAKES A
PERSONAL INTEREST IN THESE EFFORTS, AND LOCAL OFFICIALS IN
DISASTER-PRONE AREAS ARE SAID TO BE ACUTELY AWARE THAT JOB
SECURITY DEPENDS PARTLY ON THEIR PERFORMANCE IN PREPARING
FOR AND RESPONDING TO THESE DISASTERS.

7. USAID/OFDA DISASTER ASSISTANCE: USAID/DCHA/OFDA IS
CURRENTLY FUNDING TWO MULTI-YEAR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
PROJECTS IN VIETNAM: A FLOOD EARLY WARNING SYSTEM IN CENTRAL

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ0713

PAGE 01 HANOI 02686 02 OF 02 060950Z
ACTION AID-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 CIAE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EAP-00 EB-00
FBIE-00 UTED-00 FDRE-01 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 VCE-00
DCP-01 NSAE-00 PER-00 PM-00 IRM-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00
EPAE-00 ECA-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/002W
------------------042541 060950Z /38
P 060936Z NOV 02
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8027
INFO AMEMBASSY MANILA PRIORITY
AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
JICPAC HONOLULU HI
SECDEF WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 HANOI 002686

SIPDIS

AIDAC

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD
USAID/DCHA/FFP FOR BRAUSE AND LANDIS
USAID/DCHA/OFDA FOR THAYER
MANILA FOR USAID/OFDA FOR DOLAN AND ROGERS
USAID/ANE FOR FERRARA
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02686 02 OF 02 060950Z
CINCPAC FOR FPA, J3 AND J4
SECDEF FOR OSD/LIC/SOLIC/PKHA
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/AP/OKSA/HPPHO
PACIFIC COMMAND

AID/DCHA/OFDA THAYER
MANILA FOR OFDA TDOLAN


VIETNAM (USD 994,000 FROM 2000-2004), AND A COASTAL STORM
EARLY WARNING SYSTEM (USD 1.44 MILLION FROM 2001-2004). BOTH
PROJECTS ARE IMPLEMENTED BY THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT UNIT
(DMU), A UNDP-SUPPORTED TECHNICAL UNIT UNDER THE CENTRAL
COMMITTEE FOR FLOOD AND STORM CONTROL.

8. THE USAID/OFDA-FUNDED CENTRAL VIETNAM PROJECT HAS
ALREADY RESULTED IN REGULAR FLOOD AND STORM WARNING
BROADCASTS ON THE THREE NATIONAL TELEVISION STATIONS, AND
WILL EVENTUALLY RESULT IN STATE-OF-THE-ART FLOOD EARLY
WARNING CAPABILITIES IN SEVEN FLOOD-PRONE PROVINCES. THE
WEBSITE DEVELOPED THROUGH THIS PROJECT IS NOW THE PRIMARY
SOURCE OF DAILY AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON DISASTER
CONDITIONS IN VIETNAM FOR DISTRICT, PROVINCIAL, AND NATIONAL
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, EVIDENCED BY MORE THAN 73,000 VISITS
TO THE VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE VERSION OF THE WEBSITE TO DATE.
THE WEBSITE CAN BE ACCESSED AT WWW.UNDP.ORG/DMU.

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02686 02 OF 02 060950Z
9. THROUGH THE USAID/OFDA-FUNDED COASTAL STORM EARLY
WARNING PROJECT, TECHNOLOGY IS BEING DEVELOPED TO ENABLE
VIETNAM'S SUBSISTENCE FISHING BOATS TO RECEIVE ADEQUATE
WARNING OF APPROACHING STORMS THROUGH LOW-COST, SIGNAL-
ACTIVATED RADIO RECEIVERS. VIETNAM HAS ABOUT 80,000
REGISTERED VESSELS ALONG ITS COASTLINE, MOST OF THEM SMALL
FISHING BOATS. THE VULNERABILITY OF THESE FISHING
COMMUNITIES TO COASTAL STORMS WAS DRAMATICALLY ILLUSTRATED
IN 1997 WHEN OVER 3,000 FISHERMEN AND WOMEN WERE LOST DURING
TYPHOON LINDA.

10. USAID/OFDA HAS ALSO PROVIDED EMERGENCY RELIEF THROUGH
EMBASSY HANOI IN RESPONSE TO FLOODS AND STORMS IN CENTRAL
AND SOUTHERN VIETNAM TOTALING ABOUT USD 1.3 MILLION SINCE
1999, MAINLY THROUGH THE RED CROSS AND NGOS. TWO TRAILER-
MOUNTED WATER PURIFICATION UNITS RECENTLY PROVIDED TO THE
GVN BY USAID/OFDA THROUGH CARE/VIETNAM, EACH CAPABLE OF
PRODUCING 200,000 LITERS OF DRINKING WATER DAILY, ARE NOW
BEING UTILIZED IN FLOOD-AFFECTED MEKONG COMMUNITIES.

BURGHARDT

UNCLASSIFIED

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