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Policy Brief: Improving Early Flood Warning for communities in Viet Nam

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Flooding is one of the most serious natural hazards in Vietnam. While flood early warning has improved significantly in recent years — reducing the damage caused by floods — many difficulties and challenges remain, especially related to flood forecasting and delivering early warnings to communities. Extreme flooding is becoming more frequent, unusual and diverging from historical patterns due to climate change, operational impacts, and improper development planning and urbanization. If forecasting and early warning do not fully and comprehensively consider these factors, the accuracy of early warning messages can be substantially undermined. In addition, current flood warning messages mainly serve specialized state agencies, thus are often too complicated for community members to understand. For example, these warning messages mainly include information about rainfall, river water levels, and flood warning levels. Information useful for community members – such as when flood water is expected to reach the community, likely flood depth, possible flood scenarios, and actions people should take under each flooding scenario – are typically not provided. Finally, the delivery of early flood warning messages to community members, especially vulnerable people and those living in remote areas, still lacks rapidity. This is due to several factors, including complicated and multi-step warning delivery procedures; limited human resources to support early warning delivery at the commune and community levels; shortage and inadequate maintenance of early warning equipment at the commune/ward level; lack of contingency planning for unexpected situations such as prolonged power outage, deeply flooded roads, or consecutive flooding events (such as the Central Vietnam flooding events in 2020).


(Tiếng Việt, Español, Français)

Authors: Toan Vu, ISET-International, Vietnam; Trang To, Plan-International, Vietnam; Minh , Thua Thien Hue Provincial Commanding Commitee of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue

Key words: Early Warning System, disaster risk management

Funded by: Z Zurich Foundation

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