Thursday, 26 May 2016. QUY NHON – a Workshop was held with the stakeholders of the Belgian-supported program for Integrated Water Management and Urban Development in Relation to Climate Change on Community Oriented Approaches to Flood Early Warning and Risk Reduction. Representatives from the Project Coordination Units (PCUs) and relevant government departments from the three program provinces (Ha Tinh, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan), as well as experts from the Hanoi-based Technical Support Unit (TSU) listened to the shared experiences from the recently completed project on Community Engagement in Flood Early Warning and Risk Reduction of Quy Nhon City. This project, implemented by Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET) and the Climate Change Coordination Office of Binh Dinh Province (CCCO Binh Dinh), was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation under The Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN).
At the workshop, presentations were delivered by ISET project officer Ms Nghiem Phuong Tuyen as well as project beneficiaries from the local level in the flood affected communities in Nhon Binh and Nhon Phu wards of Quy Nhon city. The workshop provided the unique opportunity for stakeholders from the Belgian-supported climate change program to learn from the recent experiences in Quy Nhon and consider how these lessons-learned can be applied in their own provinces. In addition to flood early warning and community response, the Belgian climate change program focuses on developing capacity at provincial and central levels for assessing existing and future climate related risk and designing and implementing response measures such as a revised climate change action plan and climate-sensitive approaches in urban planning.
The key lessons learned from the workshop was that in order to provide a comprehensive solution for disaster risk management it is necessary to integrate systems for forecasting, warning, preparedness and response. The Quy Nhon project demonstrated that an effective system for risk reduction consists of not only equipment for rainfall and river level monitoring, but also a computer based system for forecasting river levels, flood maps to interpret the meaning of expected flood levels, and an organized system for disseminating the flood warning and conducting flood response activities. The Quy Nhon experience highlighted the importance of engaging with local government and local communities to prepare procedures for sharing warning messages and initiating response activities such as evacuation. By using the very accessible technology of SMS messages, it was shown how the time to receive the forecast, communicate with leadership, and initiate flood response actions could be reduced to just 15 minutes.
Coordinated as part of the workshop, the delegates conducted a site visit to inspect of river level monitoring equipment and a newly constructed multi-purpose flood shelter.
The event concluded with reflection by delegates on what they had seen and how these lessons could be transferred for application in their own province.
(Author: Ian Wood, Co-Coordinator – Climate Change Program Vietnam – Belgium Development Agency)