Vietnam – U.S. Disaster Preparedness Initiative

HP Storm 3This USAID funded Initiative focuses on increasing business resilience and improving public-private coordination on disaster planning within the City of Hai Phong. PWA is working closely with Hai Phong government and business representatives, providing technical expertise to strengthen disaster planning, risk reduction and recovery. The program harnesses the existing Seattle-Hai Phong Sister City relationship, and relies heavily on disaster management and business continuity experts within the Seattle area.

In partnership with the People’s Committee, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the business community, PWA is conducting risk assessments, preparedness planning, hazard mapping, and business continuity trainings and consultations. More than 2,000 businesses will engage with civil authorities in substantive planning and training activities. Sustainable partnerships, increased operational capacity, and enhanced planning tools, will all result in a more resilient Hai Phong.

Why Vietnam?

Vietnam loses nearly two percent of GDP per year due to weather related events. An estimated 70 percent of Vietnamese people are exposed to risk from natural hazards. The OECD has ranked Hai Phong specifically as one of the ten cities in the world that is most exposed to coastal flooding. As the third largest city in Vietnam and the primary port city of the north, Hai Phong is vital to the regional economy. The city’s role as an industrial center is only expected to increase with projected inflows of foreign direct investment totaling $1.2 billion in 2014. This expanding economic activity coupled with increasing disaster risk makes Hai Phong the ideal target for this Initiative.

High waves created by Typhoon Conson in 2010 smash against the bank of Do Son beach in Hai Phong

High waves from Typhoon Conson smash against the bank of Do Son beach in Hai Phong in 2010

 Why Business Continuity and Public-Private Partnerships?  

The ability of businesses to quickly recover after disasters is critical to the overall recovery of the communities in which they operate. Direct economic losses from damaged facilities and infrastructure will inevitably be experienced during a major disaster, but the indirect losses suffered due to business interruption can be lessened through effective planning and preparedness before a disaster occurs.  Indirect losses come in the form of decreased productivity and profits for individual businesses as well as lost wages for workers and the unavailability of vital goods and services to surrounding communities.  These effects can be even further reaching through disruptions to supply chains, potentially affecting  entire industries and resulting in impacts that are not only local but global.

Businesses however can neither prepare for nor recover from disasters without support, requiring close  coordination with the government agencies which are often the primary responders. Recovery is contingent on the reestablishment of critical services including water, electricity and telecommunications, which in Vietnam are largely controlled by the public sector. In turn, the private sector possesses technical expertise, man power and material and financial resources that could aid in a communities recovery. Joint preparedness efforts and well defined public-private partnerships are necessary for a quick recovery that utilizes all of a community’s resources efficiently.

Program News

For news and updates on the Initiative, click here.

Corporate Partners

PWA is currently working with various corporate partners in the Seattle area. PWA welcomes the involvement of additional corporate partners to assist through program funding and/or subject matter expertise. If interested, please contact PWA at info@peacewindsamerica.org

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