Aug. 2014—Each summer, as typhoons and tropical depressions hit Vietnam’s city of Danang, the Lighthouse Corp. braced for strong winds, heavy rains and floods, hoping direct damage to its warehouse, factory, office and construction materials would be minimal. Unfortunately, many times the construction company was not spared from collapsed windows, doors and walls, damaged goods and products, and an interrupted supply of materials as damage was repaired.
In 2012, concerned about continued loss of business and employee safety, the company sent staff to attend a disaster risk management (DRM) training supported by a USAID project, Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships for Disaster Risk Management and Community Resilience in Vietnam. The training gave participants basic information, terminology and definitions of DRM as well as practical exercises to enable them to develop a disaster risk preparedness and response plan for their businesses.
Following the training, Lighthouse created a detailed preparedness plan that assigned roles for DRM staff before, during and after storms. The company later provided basic training on DRM for all staff. Employees learned to evaluate risk areas within the company’s factories, storage areas and offices. Lighthouse also developed a reward system to motivate employees to implement the plan.
When Typhoon Nari made landfall in Danang in October 2013 and caused severe damage to the city, the Danang People’s Committee estimated total damage from the typhoon to be over $41 million (868.8 billion Vietnamese dong), including losses shared by many of the city’s businesses. Despite the damage caused by the typhoon, Lighthouse was almost unaffected due to its enhanced preparedness measures.
“With good preparation and heightened awareness before the storm, we applied some additional protection to the metal steel roof of the old office and also protection of doors and windows. This is why the company suffered from no damage,” said Tran Phuc Tri, the DRM focal point for the company.
Working closely with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the project has provided training on disaster risk management for over 2,000 individuals from more than 1,000 companies across 15 provinces and cities—including Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Hue, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Ho Chi Minh, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Can Tho and Long An, which are affected by natural disasters every year. The project, which runs from March 2011 to December 2015, is implemented by the Asia Foundation with funding from USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Last updated: January 07, 2015