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What cause disasters in central Vietnam?

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Many people have died in the central region, thousands of people are living outdoors, and infrastructure has been destroyed by floods and landslides. Why does the central region suffer from disasters every year?

Many people have died in the central region, thousands of people are living outdoors, and infrastructure has been destroyed by floods and landslides. Why does the central region suffer from disasters every year? 

Objective reasons

Thủ phạm gây thảm họa ở miền Trung

Prolonged heavy rains cause water levels in Quang Binh’s rivers to rise, inundating more than 71,000 houses. Photo: Thanh Tung

In the central region, with its typical characteristics of heavy rains and floods, the river bed is steep and narrow, and the river mouth is alluvial and changes each year. There are many weak geological areas… The area often suffers great losses during the annual flood season. 

The total cumulative rainfall from October 15 to October 19 was very high. In the provinces from Thanh Hoa to Nghe An, rainfall was from 260-220 mm. It was 450-840 mm in the provinces from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien – Hue, and 80-115 mm in the southern part of the central region (190-320 mm in the provinces from Da Nang to Quang Ngai).

Subjective reasons 

Scientists have warned that humans will have to pay high costs for the destruction of nature. The lack of a plan for sustainable socio-economic development, which causes chaos in building infrastructure, has made the task of preventing natural disasters more difficult.

Thủ phạm gây thảm họa ở miền Trung

A seriously eroded road in Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province on October 23. Photo: Phan Vinh

Weather forecasts and warnings have not kept up with unusual weather developments. The construction of roads that are perpendicular to the flow, with insufficient apertures for drainage, causes great fluctuation in the water levels between regions. Unreasonable hydropower development and infrastructure construction, and deforestation also contribute significantly to natural disasters. 

In hydropower planning studies, the task of flood reduction and supplying additional water to the downstream during the dry season has been considered. In fact, some hydropower reservoirs have partly performed this task, such as Trung Son reservoir on the Ma river (150 million m3), Hua Na reservoir on the Chu river (100 million m3), Ban Ve reservoir on the Ca river in Nghe An province (300 million m3), Quang Tri reservoir on the Rao Quán river (30 million m3), and Binh Dien reservoir on the Huu Trach river (70 million m3). 

For small and medium hydropower projects, as they are mainly located on tributary of branch rivers or streams with small catchment areas and large slopes, the reservoir capacity is very small, so the flood reduction effect is negligible. 

The construction of hydropower projects requires conversion of the use of certain areas of forested land. For these projects, the investor must fulfill the obligation of planting forests to compensate for the forest land moved for hydropower projects, according to a circular issued in 2019 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

According to the General Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, by September 2019, 30,305 hectares of forest of this kind had been planted. However, planted forests are not as effective in protecting the environment as natural forests. 

Solutions

Agencies from the central to local levels need to review and incorporate the task of natural disaster prevention into the general planning of the sectors and the overall plan, and improve the quality of weather forecasting and warnings, as well as proactively relocate people to safe areas before natural disasters occur. 

Reviewing construction standards to respond to disasters is another solution. The infrastructure, especially roads, must have enough apertures for flood drainage. Currently, in addition to the single-lake operation with full operating requirements in the flooding and dry seasons, local governments should ask small and medium hydropower reservoirs in the same basin to coordinate operations to enhance safety in the flood season, in line with demand for water exploitation and use in the dry season for the downstream. 

Implementing the National Assembly’s resolution 62 in 2014 on strengthening the management of planning, investment in construction, and operation of hydropower projects, and the Government’s resolution on an Action Plan in response to resolution 62, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued a plan that removed 8 ladder hydropower projects, 472 small hydropower projects and 213 potential locations for hydroelectricity from hydropower development planning. These are projects that occupy a lot of land, have great impact on the environment and society, or have low economic efficiency. 

The ministry is not considering supplementing the planning of small-scale hydropower projects or any hydropower projects that occupy natural forest land.

Thủ phạm gây thảm họa ở miền Trung

Heavy rains cause floods and landslides on hilly lands. Photo: Phan Vinh

The flood drainage capacity of the central coastal residential areas should be enhanced and the flood resistance of river dike systems must be improved. 

Other solutions include: prevent floods to protect people in river basins, ensuring production of summer-autumn and winter-spring crops, with a flood frequency of 5-10% (equivalent to floods occurring every 10-20 years); consolidate dikes of the Ma, Chu, Ca and La rivers to withstand floods after 2020; strengthen other river dikes from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien – Hue provinces to combat summer-autumn and late floods, actively prevent and adapt to main-season floods; prevent early floods and drain late floods to ensure production of the winter-spring and summer-autumn crops, with a rate of 5-10% for the south central region; and  study and implement solutions to stabilize the river bed, regulate rivers, and combat sedimentation at estuaries of Thu Bon, Ba, Lai Giang, Tra Khuc, Tra Cau, Ban Thach and Cai Nha Trang rivers; 

Also, consolidate and improve flood resistance capability in major river basins in the North Central region with a flood control level after 2020 of <1% for Huong and Ca rivers and <7% for Huong river; proactively prevent, avoid and adapt to floods to protect people in river basins of the South Central Coast, the Central Highlands, and the Southeast, ensuring production in the Summer-Autumn and Winter-Spring crops, with flood frequency of 5% to 10%. 

For the South Central region, effectively regulate reservoirs to supply water to the downstream area; rationally operate the reservoir system in the river basin to ensure safety for downstream, serving daily life, production and natural disaster prevention; prevent, avoid and adapt to main-season floods; prevent early and late floods in service of winter-spring and summer-autumn crop production; increase the drainage capacity of drainage axes, to study solutions to overcome and fill up river and sea estuaries to drain floods. 

Also, make 1:25000 maps to classify risks of floods, earthquakes, landslides and forest fires in key areas. 

Depending on the level of the forecasted risk, district-level authorities need to establish a stockpile of essentials, at least instant noodles and drinking water, alum to settle the cloudy water, and water disinfecting tablets so that people in disaster affected areas can treat available water sources. 

When there is no military conflict, the army does rescue tasks very well, so the army should have a professional rescue force, which will coordinate with the rescue force of the civilian side to save people when natural disasters occur. The destructive power of nature can be terrible, while human power is very small, so we are only able to minimize, proactively prevent natural disasters, not combat natural disasters, especially in the central region. 

It is necessary to establish response instructions and organize propaganda for relevant units and companies. Each related hydropower, irrigation project, and construction project in the mountainous and forest region… needs to have an incident response process. 

In order to proactively prevent natural disasters effectively, the government and relevant agencies need to develop a unified action plan based on a common vision: “Effective disaster management, wise use of resources, respond to climate change and sea level rise flexibly, for a stable and prosperous economy, diverse and sustainable environment.” 

To Van Truong

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/what-cause-disasters-in-central-vietnam-683865.html

Sci-tech-environment

HCM City needs VND29 trillion for solid waste treatment

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HCMC will need nearly VND29 trillion in the next five years to implement a solid waste treatment scheme, which is aimed at enhancing the management, classification, collection, and recycling of solid waste in the city.

HCM City needs VND29 trillion for solid waste treatment
Waste collection vehicles are seen on a street in HCMC. The city will need nearly VND29 trillion in the next five years to implement a solid waste treatment scheme – Photo: TNO

The city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment has just sent to the municipal government a scheme to treat solid waste by 2025 with a vision toward 2050. The scheme will be sent to the Ministry of Construction for appraisal and then to the Prime Minister for approval after it receives a green light from the city government.

The scheme will be financed by the city’s budget, official development assistance loans, and other private sources. Of the total funding, approximately VND14.5 trillion will be used for technology transfer activities to treat solid waste, VND5 trillion for building a waste treatment plant, VND3 trillion for developing waste transfer stations, VND1.2 trillion for setting up waste collection points along roads and VND500 billion for arranging waste collector teams.

According to goals set by the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment, all industrial and medical waste shall be collected and treated by 2025; 90% of construction waste will be treated, with 60% recycled. By 2023, 60% of households in the city are expected to sort waste at source and the figure could jump up yearly.

Around 9,300 tons of household waste are daily discharged in the city. In February this year, the municipal government passed an adjusted plan to classify waste at source into two groups: recyclable and the rest, instead of the previous three groups: organic, inorganic, recyclable. The change was made to be in line with the waste-to-energy technology currently adopted by the city and to reduce landfill waste.  SGT

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/hcm-city-needs-vnd29-trillion-for-solid-waste-treatment-693480.html

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Vietnam ready to commercialize 5G by 2021

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Commercializing 5G by 2021 is a target for Vietnam to implement the national digital transformation.

Vietnam will universalize 5G through producing 5G devices with quality and reasonable prices in 2021 as developing 5G network is one of the key directions on improving the capacity of digital infrastructure for national digital transformation, according to Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung.

The use of 5G handsets produced by Vietnam is a measure to help enhance network security and safety. To implement this, one of the solutions is to research and master the design and manufacture of 5G network equipment and chips.

Viettel Group’s Viettel High Tech Industries Corporation and Vingroup’s VinSmart Research and Manufacture JSC in October signed a cooperation agreement on the development of a 5G gNodeB base station system.

Earlier, the first device incorporating 5G technology produced by Vietnam was successfully tested. According to the Center for Telecommunications Quality and Measurement under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Vsmart Aris 5G had been tested many times and gave positive results.

Vietnam ready to commercialize 5G by 2021
5G speed on Vsmart smartphones using Sub6 band is nearly 8 times higher than 4G.

Through many technical tests, 5G speed on Vsmart smartphones using Sub6 band is nearly 8 times higher than 4G and promises to continue to increase when VinSmart applies mmWave band in the coming time.

The successful development of the Vsmart Aris 5G smartphone shows that Vietnam is ready to master advanced technologies. This is the basis for asserting that the country can completely accelerate in the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Besides, the MIC has recently allowed two mobile operators, Viettel and MobiFone, to test and commercialize 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as it is a good foundation to bring Vietnam into the group of the leading countries in the world in deploying 5G.

Unlike the previous test which was heavily technical, the target audience of this test was mobile subscribers. This is an important test to help local operators evaluate the technology and the market before officially implementing commercialization of 5G in Vietnam.

These are all concrete steps that show Vietnam’s approach to 5G development towards mass commercialization by 2021.

Mr. Mani Manimohan, head of Digital Infrastructure Policy and Regulations at GSMA, predicted that over the next 5 years, more than 1 billion people worldwide will use mobile data which average consumption per month is 4-5 times more than previously. Because 5G is an effective technology to meet that need.

In addition to users, industries are also in need of 5G applications. This will be the key to the computing power and automation of factories. In addition, Mr. Manihohan from GSMA said that governments should see the mobile ecosystem with a scale of more than US$1 trillion as a driving force for development.

Meanwhile, Mr. Denis Brunetti, president of Ericsson Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, said that 5G will change all industries. Manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare industries will change drastically thanks to the presence of robots and 5G information transmission systems. He believes that Vietnam possesses the essentials to develop science and information technology and expects Vietnam will become a developed economy by 2045.  Hanoitimes 

Nhat Minh – Ha Thanh

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/vietnam-ready-to-commercialize-5g-by-2021-693503.html

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Vietnam considers using AI to warn about landslides, flash floods

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The Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration (VMHA) has proposed applying AI to give early warnings about landslides and flash floods.

According to the agency, about 10-15 flash floods and landslides occur every year in Vietnam, mostly in mountainous areas in the north, central region, Central Highlands and eastern part of the southern region.

Vietnam considers using AI to warn about landslides, flash floods

The landslides always result in a high death toll and property damage.

In 2020, many serious landslides occurred in Quang Nam, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, causing tens of deaths.

Scientists found that the rainfall in flash floods and landslides in areas were different because of various factors, including geology and topography.

According to VMHA’s Director General, warnings about landslides are given together with weather forecasts so that people and local authorities can prepare plans to cope with natural calamities.

However, the forecasts still cannot be fully and systematically integrated, while the warnings are just at the district level.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) is promoting research on flash floods on a large scale and risk zoning to help the government and local authorities anticipate the risks.

This will allow them to reasonably program local socio-economic development and apply measures to prevent and mitigate damage.

According to VMHA, it is necessary to determine the rain threshold that may cause landslides and flash floods in each locality and point out specific locations.

The challenge is that there is no integrated inter-section data system for natural disaster impact assessment, and there is no system for real-time warning of landslides and flash floods.

The agency said it is cooperating with scientific organizations to integrate more comprehensive data and warnings about landslides into weather forecast bulletins, commencing from June 2021.

Trinh Xuan Hoa, Deputy Director of Institute of Geosciences and Minerals, said in 2012- 2018 the institute joined forces with units under MONRE to implement a project on surveying, assessing and zoning the risks of landslides in mountainous areas of Vietnam.

Under the project, a database and maps providing detailed information about areas where landslides occur and areas with high risk have been created.

Prof Do Minh Duc from the Hanoi National University said choosing the right positions where monitoring systems should be installed is important to determine which kinds of sensors to use.

Regarding the warnings about flash floods and landslides, Vu Duc Long, deputy director of the National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting, said that it is necessary to develop an automatic flow rain monitoring system, and promote early warning technology for landslides, rocky mud slides, and flash floods. 

Hai Dang

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/vietnam-considers-using-ai-to-warn-about-landslides-flash-floods-693714.html

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