Living with Floods: A Grassroots Analysis of the Causes and Impacts of Typhoon Miranae

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On November 2, 2009, typhoon Mirinae slammed into the coast of central Vietnam, killing 122 people and causing $280 million in damage to property. While typhoons regularly strike the coasts of central Vietnam each fall, the severity of this storm took both meteorologists and local disaster relief authorities off guard. The heaviest rains were far inland, and coastal communities in the rice growing deltas were not prepared for the flooding that followed. Vietnam's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) predicts that over the next 50 years climate change will cause an increase in the number and severity of storms like Mirinae. This report proposes that through the generation of more severe storms, climate change is creating a new disaster preparation and response equation. But this, however, is not the only equation. Vietnam is now engaged in a socio-economic development strategy that is committed to forms of economic growth that favors the expansion and development of coastal and lowland cities and towns. Increasingly, that growth needs to come to terms with environmental constraints. This study of flooding associated with typhoon Mirinae will show that area residents are accustomed to seasonal flooding and have discovered means of dealing with the risks and benefits they provide. They are also aware of recent landscape transformations. Rather than anticipated increases in the number and intensity of storms, they regard these new projects, and the failure of authorities to offer them adequate warning, as the key factors behind the severity of Mirinae's impacts. In this report, we try to understand these assessments and analyze them in a wider context of urbanization of the lower Ha Thanh river delta. Keywords: Disaster Risk Reduction/Hazard Management; Floods, Hurricanes, Typhoons; Learning from Natural Hazards; Monitoring and Evaluation; Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation; Urban Planning; Water Management

Authors: Michael DiGregorio; Huynh Cao Van

Citation: DiGregorio, M., & Van, H. C. (2012). Living with floods: A grassroots analysis of the causes and impacts of Typhoon Miranae. Hanoi, Vietnam: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International.


Funded by: The Rockefeller Foundation


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