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Vietnam mulls over applying AI in warning about landslides, flash floods

December 02, 2020 | 11:18

As natural disaster has been growing more fierce in Vietnam in recent years, resulting in devastating damages, the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration (VMHA) has proposed applying AI to give early warnings about landslides and flash floods.

1500 residents in nha trang evacuate over flooding fear 1,500 residents in Nha Trang evacuate over flooding fear
early recovery responses to covid 19 and natural disaster for vietnam locals Early recovery, responses to COVID-19 and natural disaster for Vietnam locals
therapeutic food for malnourished children ready to be distributed to central vietnam Therapeutic food for malnourished children ready to be distributed to central Vietnam
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(Photo: Vietnamnet)

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, according to Vietnamnet.

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.

Houses in Central Vietnam inundated in floodwater (Photo: Luat Vietnam)
Houses in Central Vietnam inundated in floodwater (Photo: Luat Vietnam)

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.

Aiding team sending food to residents in flooded areas (Photo: BIDV)
Aiding team sending food to residents in flooded areas (Photo: BIDV)
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People in Quang Tri province have to relocate due to floodwater (Photo: Bao Dan Toc)

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.

Earlier on December 1 morning, a number of suburban areas including Vinh Ngoc commune, Vinh Hiep, Vinh Thai commune are partly submerged, with floodwater rising to almost half a meter. In Vinh Thanh commune, rainwater floods into Ga market, small merchants have to load up their goods and close the stalls. Meanwhile, locals have no choice but wade through knee-high floodwater to buy daily necessities, foods, and candles in case the electric power is cut off.

At least 1,500 people from low-lying areas, or areas with high risks of landslides have left their home upon the request from Nha Trang’s officials. Schools, communal houses, People's Committees house, etc., are among the make-shift living space for the evacuees. Security forces were dispatched to flooded areas to stop people from entering or passing by.

That goes to show how much damaging natural disaster, particularly floods and landslides could bring to stricken areas and its locals.

Technology has been increasingly developed in Vietnam. Earlier on October 30, three Vietnamese largest tecos namely VinaPhone, MobiFone, and Viettel begin to test commercial 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

5G smartphones are gradually gaining popularity in Vietnam. Foreign technology companies such as Samsung, Oppo, Vivo have already launched products that support 5G technology. Vietnam's smartphone producer VinSmart has also introduced 5G-supported products but has not yet officially sold any of those. The new Apple's bombshell - iPhone 12 also supports 5G technology.

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Jasmine Le