Ho Chi Minh City schools carry out disaster prevention, response drills

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Students and teachers at Nguyen Binh Khiem kindergarten in Ho Chi Minh City practice a fire drill. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City education department is carrying out disaster-and accident-response drills at all schools, training teachers and educating children.

Tran Thi Kim Thanh, deputy director of the department, told Tuoi Tre newspaper that the city is located in the monsoon zone and vulnerable to natural disasters and effects of climate change like typhoons and high tides.

The training was supported by UNICEF and aims to limit damage in case of disasters, including fires and floods.

The drills started last year in the coastal districts of Can Gio and Nha Be, and are now being carried out at education offices and high schools across the city.

Thanh said several schools were already putting their students through such drills for the last couple of years as recommended by the education ministry under a different program.

Besides training teachers, the UNICEF program also helps put plans in place to prevent and mitigate incidents and respond to them.

For students, it has involved learning about disaster mitigation in class and making field trips.

Ho Chi Minh City was hit by Typhoon Pakhar in April 2012, which killed two people in neighboring provinces and uprooted hundreds of trees around the city. It usually receives downpours when typhoons blow over the East Sea and hit the central coast every year.

Teachers stressed the need for the program, saying it would only work effectively if the students are put through drills since during emergencies they are likely to forget theories they learn.

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