Disaster Prevention Project in Vietnam ~Disaster prevention through mangrove afforestation Contributing to protection of the Earth’s environment

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Mangroves, which grow in marshy places, are called a ‘green wall’, protecting people from natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunami. The Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS), has worked with the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS), since 1997 to promote the afforestation of mangroves and other plants and on various environmental protection activities, covering about 10,408 hectares, which is equal to about 2226 Tokyo Domes. These forests are estimated to absorb about 16.3 million tons of greenhouse gas and thus contribute to the prevention of global warming.

‘We have come to live safely.’
‘Mangrove’ is the general term for various types of plants growing in brackish (a mixture of fresh and salt) water. Mangrove forests were once numerous in Vietnam due to its rich environment. But war, deforestation, and shrimp farming have reduced the number by half. As a result, damage due to typhoons and tidal conditions has grown year by year, gravely affecting the lives of local people and their crops.

A disaster prevention project promoting mangrove afforestation was launched by the JRCS and VRCS to address this problem. Afforestation is carried out by hand of local people, and a wide range of activities aimed at forest protection and fire prevention enlightenment by local volunteers have been undertaken.

Hoan Ruon, vice chairman of the Red Cross branch in Hai Phong City, which is one of the project targets, looked back at the fruits of these activities over the past 20 years and said, ‘Although it has been very hard to attract volunteers, all of the members enthusiastically tackled their assignments. As a result, they have contributed to a reduction in climate change and the disasters it brings.’

Bu Ain Bien in Thai Binh province, who took part in the afforestation activities from the beginning of the project, said in joy, ‘Afforestation led to a safe life. Mangroves are a good environment for fish and other types of seafood, so we could start aquafarming.

Mangrove afforestation in Vietnam has been supported by the JRCS for 20 years. The initial target was six northern provinces. It has since been enlarged to ten provinces. The VRCS makes a strong effort to cooperate with the government to promote future support from the government.

Newsletter, December 2016 by JRCS