Cities not ready for climate change: experts

vietnamnews

Update: April, 17/2017 – 09:00

A flooded alley in District 12, HCM City. High tides broke sewer No. 4 in the district’s Thạnh Xuân 25 Street during the rainy season in October last year, flooding the neighbourhood and disrupting the lives of residents. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh

HA NOI – Most Vietnamese cities lack the capacity to confront climate change challenges, experts say, calling for greater preparedness efforts.

Cities have to be ready to adapt to new situations and unexpected developments, ensuring essential services to residents at all times, they add.

Surveys done by the Urban Development Agency under the Construction Ministry have found cities in mountainous areas particularly vulnerable to natural calamities.

In Lào Cai City, capital of the eponymous province, and Gia Nghĩa Town, Đăk Nông Province in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) region, it was found that transportation facilities and potable water supply systems were not equipped for emergency situations.

The studies also found that the early warning systems for storms and flashfloods were not completed in several cities.

In the Tây Nguyên region, urban areas like Gia Nghĩa Township have not been able to supply residents with clean water during prolonged drought, badly affecting daily life and production.

Urban development plans prepared by local administrations failed to include solutions for climate change impacts, the agency found.

Major cities, too

For instance, HCM City has been suffering flooding on a regular basis because 72 per cent of the land area is lower than sea level. About 12 per cent of the city’s residents, 47 per cent of them poor, are hit hardest by the flooding.

From 2005-2011, the central city of Đà Nẵng was hit by 14 storms that destroyed about 15,000 houses and 26,623ha of forests.

According to the Institute for Social and Environment Transition (ISET), about 300 coastal urban areas have been suffering climate change impacts, including flooding, saline intrusion, and big tides; and nearly 150 urban areas in the mountainous areas have been affected by land erosion, flash floods, and drought.

Experts emphasise that not factoring climate change in the urban planning process has not just made cities more vulnerable, it has also worsened the impacts.

In many urban areas, infrastructure development has not kept pace with increasing population. For instance, most areas do not have separate drainage systems for rainwater and wastewater, and in some cases, existing systems are so degraded that they meet just 60 per cent of demand.

“Climate change is unpredictable and variable,” Nguyễn Hồng Tiến, head of Technical Infrastructure Department under the Construction Ministry told Nhân Dân Cuoi Tuan (The People) Weekly.

“Meanwhile, urban cities’ infrastructure works have not been designed and built to respond to specific natural calamities,” Tiến said.

“According to weather experts, new records are likely in terms of temperature and rainfall as well as frequency of natural calamities in the coming years. So the losses suffered would be much worse if preventive measures are not prepared,” he said.

Bạch Tân Sinh of the Institute for Science and Technology Strategy and Policy said there were many shortcomings in getting urban areas adapt to climate change in Việt Nam.

“These include lack of capacity among local administrations, lack of investment and weak knowledge and awareness among both officials and the general public,” he said.

“At present, there is no regulations on associating measures of climate change adaption with the socio-economic development in general and urban development plans in regular,” Tân said.

Tiến called for the development and application of advanced space and remote sensing technologies to get early warnings about natural disasters as well as development of infrastructure adaptable to climate change impacts, including natural disasters. — VNS

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This entry was posted in Biến đổi khí hậu - Climate change, Chính sách biến đổi khí hậu - climate change policy, Disaster reduction - Giảm thiên tai, Kế hoạch xây dựng đô thị - Urban planning, Sustainable water management and tagged , , , , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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