FAO in Laos

Government, FAO accelerate disaster management reform

The government is partnering with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to accelerate the transformation of disaster management, to cope with intensifying food crises and widespread poverty.

14/03/2022
Speaking at a Project Orientation and Planning Workshop on Monday, Deputy Director of the Social Welfare Department, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Mixay Sengchanthavong, said Laos continues to face threats from climate change as well as suffering from the usual annual disaster cycle. Floods and drought have affected the development of infrastructure, the economy and people’s livelihoods. In 2019, floods affected people in six central and southern provinces.

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In 2021, strong winds, floods and fires, totalling 52 incidents, directly affected people in 14 provinces, involving 17,824 families of 68,143 people. Seventeen people were injured during extreme weather events, while 19 people died. Storms and floods damaged 2,638 houses and affected the health, education, agriculture, public works, energy and business sectors, with estimated total damage of more than 398 billion kip.

Prolonged dry spells are a major threat and, although they are a natural part of the annual weather cycle, they severely limit agricultural production, which threatens the country’s food security.

Recognising the impact of extreme weather events and climate change, Mr Mixay said the Party and government have prioritised natural disaster management by identifying legislation, policies and strategies for better prevention, control and post-disaster recovery.

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It was necessary to strengthen disaster management from the central to local levels, especially in villages, and to improve forecasting and early warning systems, he said. Training was needed for better disaster response and to raise community awareness of disaster risks and the need for preparedness, he added.
The government continues to work with international organisations and friendly countries and to form public-private partnerships for stronger preparedness, prevention, risk reduction and post-disaster emergency response.
The government compiled the Disaster Management Law, which was adopted and promulgated in 2019, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy, which was adopted and promulgated in 2021.
Mr Mixay also said disaster management was a priority in the ninth five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2021-2025. The government is currently working with UNDP to develop flood and drought recovery guidelines for Laos.
Speaking at the online workshop, Senior Resilience Officer, FAORAP, Mrs Hang Thi Thanh Pham, said disaster management improvement will also help Laos to contribute to Asean leadership in promoting innovative approaches to disaster management and global warming.