Children in Tien Giang Province’s Cai Lay District learning how to swim. Photo courtesy of Save the Children.
More than 12,000 primary school children in the Mekong Delta received training and life-saving equipment to better prepare for disasters during a two-month project that began in February.
The US$197,000 Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project aimed to increase awareness of disaster risk eduction and the possible negative impacts of climate change for children in disaster-prone locations.
The project conducted workshops at 24 schools in Dong Thap and Tien Giang provinces and was funded by the pan-Asian Prudence Foundation established by insurance corporation Prudential and implemented by the NGO Save the Children.
In coordination with the local departments of education, centers for flood and storm control (CFSC), Vietnam’s Red Cross and Disaster Management Centre, Save the Children provided trainings on disaster risk reduction to children and teachers so they could design preparedness plans for their schools.
In addition, children were trained in evacuation drills and provided with life-saving equipment and swimming lessons.
Similar activities were also organized in the children’s communities with an estimated 24,000 participants.
Jack Howell, Prudential Vietnam CEO said the project was in line with a common Vietnamese maxim: “live with the flood,” which implies that the best way to face disasters is to be well-equipped.
“The project provided schoolchildren with practical survival skills to help them overcome disasters such as tropical floods and storms,” he said.
Official figures show that more than 6,000 children drown annually in Vietnam, and the number is increasing each year.
The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs said the number of child drowning deaths is 10 times higher in Vietnam than in other developing countries.
Experts have blamed the government for failing to make swimming lessons part of the standard school curriculum.
The country has 3,260 kilometers of coastline, plus innumerable rivers, canals and ponds.
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