In an interview granted to the People’s Army Newspaper’s reporters, the department's director also emphasized the need to promote dissemination and education to raise troops’ awareness of the important political mission as well as their determination to overcome difficulties to fulfill assigned tasks.

Major General Doan Thai Duc

He added that the department should closely follow the developments of incidents and natural disasters and cooperate with other forces and localities to effectively respond to them.

The force should also make recommendations to units’ Party committees and chains-of-command and local authorities to mobilize personnel and vehicles to cope with unexpected circumstances while making the most of all resources for incident and natural disaster response and search and rescue missions and advising local Party committees and authorities to commandeer vehicles and equipment of businesses and civilian agencies and units for the mission, Duc said.

According to Major General Doan Thai Duc, last year, the whole military effectively carried out natural disaster response and consequence mitigation and search and rescue operations and was highly appreciated by the Party, State, localities, and people.

He said that in 2021, the country witnessed the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as natural disasters. In particular, 1,816 incidents and natural disasters happened, causing 574 deaths and missing; injuring 401 people; ruining 500 vehicles; burning 800 factories, 1,200 hectares of forest, and more than 300,000 hectares of rice and other crops with estimated economic losses of over VND 5.2 trillion.

In the year, the Department of Search and Rescue mobilized 65,000 people and 5,908 vehicles to deal with 1,544 incidents and cope with natural disasters, saving 1,050 people and 161 vehicles.

The whole military dispatched 41,000 people and 4,000 vehicles to conduct search and rescue missions, saving 1,144 people and 99 vehicles. Military units also evacuated around 8,000 households to safe places, repaired 1,643 houses, stamped out 433 fires and 1,200 hectares of forest, and mobilized more than 395,000 vehicles to transport over 1.8 million people to take shelter.

Over the past time, together with actively making recommendations to the Central Party Commission, the Ministry of National Defense, and the General Staff, the department has directed its personnel to strictly observe combat readiness regulations, closely follow situational developments, and mobilized military and civilian forces to effectively carry out incident and natural disaster response and search and rescue. 

The department actively and proactively contributed to the building of documents related to civil defensive areas, incident and natural disaster response, and search and rescue. It also directed, guided, and inspected units’ and localities’ organization of training sessions, competitions, and exercises, including Military Region 3’s civil defensive area exercise and the Chemical Corps’ chemical incident response.

More especially, in the year, the unit advised the Ministry of National Defense to successfully host the “Emergency Area” contest at the Army Games 2021 and directly guided the Vietnamese search and rescue team to join the event. At that event, the Vietnamese team bagged the silver medal.

Talking about missions in the coming time, the director of the Department of Search and Rescue said that in 2022 the country will continue facing challenges posed by climate change, environmental pollution, COVID-19 pandemic, and more severe natural disasters, requiring the force to enhance capability to meet higher task requirements.

A meeting to discuss search and rescue plans of the department's affiliated center 

In particular, the unit will continue embracing higher levels’ resolutions and directives; make recommendations to higher levels to effectively carry out natural disaster response and search and rescue operations; closely follow situational developments to deal with incidents and natural disaster in a timely manner; organize training courses and exercises to raise its personnel’s capabilities to respond to incidents and natural disasters and conduct search and rescue.

Translated by Tran Hoai