Southeast Asia Flash Flood Guidance System (SeAFFGS) has just been put into operation in Vietnam this week, according to the Meteorological and Hydrological Administration of Vietnam (VNMHA) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE).
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the VNMHA held a conference on June 28 to announce that Vietnam will assume a central role in forecasting landslides and flash floods.
The SeAFFGS project aims to provide forecasts and early warnings for member countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, with a funding of US$1.3 million.
Delegates discuss flash floods and landslides in Southeast Asia. Photo: Thu Cuc
Addressing the event, General Director of the VNMHA Tran Hong Thai said the SeAFFGS is part of the WMO's global flash flood guidance system, which connects the regional center for supporting flash flood warnings in Southeast Asia and those across the world.
The VNMHA is proud to have been selected to host the SeAFFGS, Thai said, noting that the system integrates many different data sources from satellites, radars, and topographic and automatic measurement stations to assist forecasters with effective flash flood and landslide warning information.
As the regional center for supporting flash flood warnings in Southeast Asia, Vietnam will manage two servers at VNMHA, which provide and exchange data and information with hydro-meteorological centers in Southeast Asia.
Besides, Vietnam will coordinate with member countries of SeAFFGS in exploiting and using products of the flash flood warning system in Southeast Asia to improve the forecasting and warning capacity of flash floods and landslides.
Landslides in Vietnam’s northern province of Thai Nguyen killed 3 people in early June. Photo: Phuong Thao
The conference also marked the completion of the Southeast Asian component of the project “Building Resilience to High-Impact Hydro-meteorological Events through Strengthening Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Southeast Asia (SeA)”, which was funded by the Canadian Government.
Hiring Kim, head of WMO’s Hydrological and Water Resources Service Division, stressed that Southeast Asia is a region heavily affected by flash floods and landslides in the rainy season.
Therefore, Vietnam was chosen to build the SeAFFGS, which is hoped to help the region minimize the harmful effects of these disasters, Hwirin Kim noted.
Participants also emphasized the need to improve the capacity of forecasting and warning of heavy rain and floods in small areas through keeping research and application of new technologies, promoting cooperation among Southeast Asian nations and WMO in sharing data, and raising public awareness of flash floods, landslides.
Monichot So I'm, deputy director of the Cambodian Meteorological Agency said the SeAFFGS is very important in warning of flash floods and landslides in Cambodia, as it would help evacuate people from high-risk areas in time.