Media Release: DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION
Date: 14 June 2008
Australian funded Safe Harbour to save lives and livelihoods in Quang Ngai
Quang Ngai – The Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Bill Tweddell, today opened the Australian-funded Tinh Hoa Safe Habour in Quang Ngai.
The Safe Habour will provide refuge for up to 400 boats in the event of a natural disaster.
It will help to protect hundreds of poor fishing families who are most vulnerable to loss of life and income when natural disasters strike.
Fishing communities along the central coast of Vietnam are among the poorest in the country and are particularly vulnerable to the loss of a vessel or primary income earner.
The Habour is an component of Australia’s $13 million (approximately 208 billion VND) Quang Ngai Natural Disaster Mitigation Project.
Over 67 lives and 113 vessels have been lost over the past five years in Quang Ngai due to natural disasters. Most of these losses occurred when fishing vessels attempted to seek refuge through river mouths in order to escape floods and typhoons.
The Australian Government provided funding and technical assistance to the Quang Ngai Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to design and construct an all-weather boat.
Australia has also assisted in educating fishing communities on the importance of personal safety.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Tweddell said that “assisting Vietnam mitigate the impact of natural disasters is a priority for our Vietnam-Australia Development Cooperation Program.”
“Given the negative impact of disasters on household poverty and the likely future effects of climate change, natural disasters will continue to affect the people who are already struggling the hardest.”
“That is why the Australian Government is working with the Government of Vietnam to respond to these challenges. The Quang Ngai Natural Disaster Mitigation project is an excellent example of how communities can lessen their vulnerability to natural disasters. It is a model that can be replicated in neighbouring provinces across central Vietnam.”