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From 21 March to 21 April 2019, a series of 4-day Community Action for Disaster Response (CADRE) training courses were organized in 5 districts of Thua Thien Hue (TT Hue) province to enhance the capacity of local authority officials in dealing with disaster emergency management. The activities are funded by the USAID Green Annamites Project (2016-2020), which aims to assist Vietnam (targeting TT Hue and Quang Nam provinces) in transitioning towards climate-smart, low emission, and resilient development that protects people, landscapes, and biodiversity in two of Vietnam’s priority forested provinces.

Vietnam’s vulnerability to climate change puts many children and local communities at high risk of physical and psychological injuries during and after natural disasters. TT Hue, located in Vietnam’s Central coast region is known as one of the most heavily affected disaster-prone areas of the country and regularly affected by storms/typhoons, flooding as well as drought. Those living in these vulnerable areas suffer the most when a disaster strike, and it is crucial that they learn to respond immediately during and after a disaster – when lives can be saved. Therefore, with support from the USAID Green Annamites Project, CADRE training helps empower local people and communities, equip them with sufficient skills and knowledge, and give them a better opportunity to effectively respond, as well as integrating communities in the national emergency preparedness framework.

After 1 month of implementation, the CADRE training courses have supported 125 participants (27% female) who are community members of Quang Phuoc commune (Quang Dien district), Phong Binh commune (Phong Dien district), Vinh Hai commune (Phu Loc district), Huong Phong commune (Huong Tra town), and Thuan An town (Phu Vang district). These are among the 12 most disaster-prone communes of TT Hue where most local people, especially children, are severely impacted by regular disasters. Community members who are able to immediately respond after a disaster will have a higher chance of saving more lives, while they wait for emergency response professionals to arrive.

During the courses, participants were given hands-on trainings on first aid and health and safety for disasters and the importance of community-based disaster risk management. They received not only basic instruction on emergency response but also the chances to practice first aid instructions of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), victim categorization, dead bodies’ management as well as fire and water emergency. These courses aim to build the capacity of local community members in dealing with common natural disasters in their living areas and strengthen the cooperation of communities to deal with potential disasters. After the courses, the participants were fully equipped with sufficient knowledge to support their communities in case of unexpected disasters, thus minimizing the risks of further injuries and even death.

“I never had any first-aid training before. I think that CADRE training course is very helpful as I can learn many useful tips in first-aid information and treatment procedures to assist affected people to safety. I will try my best to use the knowledge and skills learnt from this course to support my family members and communities when a natural disaster strikes”, shared by Ms. Nguyen Thi Ly Ni – local Women’s Union member of Thuan An town, Phu Vang district, TT Hue.

Furthermore, with USAID Green Annamites project support, Community-based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) training courses have also been held targeting local government officials of these communes. During the courses, participants spent several days assessing the capacity of local communities in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction as well as identifying their current weaknesses which might exacerbate potential disasters, and proposing possible disaster management measures for vulnerable groups. The last day focused on report evaluation, and participatory development of contingency plans and natural disaster risks maps. These activities greatly helped to strengthen the capacity of both local officials and community members to better cope with natural disaster in these areas.

Summer is coming, which for the coastal communities of TT Hue and Quang Nam means the looming possibility of storms and floods. At this time of the year, districts within the area of coastal lagoon are the most vulnerable to natural hazards. Therefore, training on first aid and health safety during disasters as well as evaluation of disaster management plans are of first priorities for local authority and community members to immediately respond to the threats of natural disasters. With enhanced capacity and well-prepared human and material resources, the impact of natural disasters would certainly be mitigated and minimized.

Alison Rusinow

Global Sector Head - Agriculture