Archive for the ‘floods’ Category

Vietnam PM Puts Together Measures To Avert Recession; More Floods, Rain In Central

November 28, 2008

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has put together a package of measures to help prevent the economy falling into recession but the government has yet to detail what those measures will be.

The prime minister, who met with officials from various ministries late Thursday, said the impact of the global financial crisis is increasingly spreading to Vietnam and hurting its exports, tourism and especially the stock market.

“Vietnam’s economy is slowing down, with the threat of recession looming large,” Dung said in a statement published Friday on the government’s Web site.

“All the state organizations should combine their efforts to prevent recession, support production and maintain reasonable economic growth,” Dung noted.

From Dow Jones

He said the package includes measures to boost production and exports, stimulate domestic consumption, increase loans, support the poor and a review of taxation.

No further details were available although state media reported that ministers proposed a further cut in benchmark interest rates to 10% from the current 11% and delaying the implementation of a planned capital gains tax to July from January.

Ministers also proposed increasing the disbursement of state funds for welfare, healthcare, education and infrastructure projects, plus reducing taxes for businesses.

Neither did the government say how much it plans to spend, although analysts have speculated that it could be for around US$1 billion.

Vietnam, once expected to be the next Asian boom economy, has suffered a marked slowdown in economic growth.

In late September, the government estimated that gross domestic product expanded 6.5% in January through September from a year earlier compared with 8.2% growth in same period of 2007.

That slowdown was in part due to government spending cuts and price controls on some goods to stem inflation that still stood at an elevated 24.2% on year in November. Slowing offshore demand for Vietnamese goods and falling inward investment have added to the woes lately.

Vietnam’s key stock-market index, which has declined 67% so far this year, ended up 3.7% Friday after state media announced that the government will take urgent measures to support the economy.

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Officials say floods and landslides triggered by several days of heavy rain have killed 13 people in central Vietnam this week.

Disaster official Le Viet Binh of Quang Ngai province says rains have stopped but water levels remained very high on Friday, hindering rescue efforts. Floods and landslides have claimed four lives in the province.

“We have mobilised militiamen and police to rush food aid and medicine to one isolated district,” Binh says.

Binh Dinh province is the worst-hit, with five people being drowned, according to the provincial Web site.

Vietnam Airlines says dozens of flights to the seaside city of Nha Trang have been cancelled.

Vietnam is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.

Food, Crops, Subsidies and Hunger in the Global Economy

November 17, 2008

This spring, disaster loomed in the global food market. Precipitous increases in the prices of staples like rice (up more than a hundred and fifty per cent in a few months) and maize provoked food riots, toppled governments, and threatened the lives of tens of millions. But the bursting of the commodity bubble eased those pressures, and food prices, while still high, have come well off the astronomical levels they hit in April. For Americans, the drop in commodity prices has put a few more bucks in people’s pockets; in much of the developing world, it may have saved many from actually starving. So did the global financial crisis solve the global food crisis?

By James Surowiecki
The New Yorker

Temporarily, perhaps. But the recent price drop doesn’t provide any long-term respite from the threat of food shortages or future price spikes. Nor has it reassured anyone about the health of the global agricultural system, which the crisis revealed as dangerously unstable. Four decades after the Green Revolution, and after waves of market reforms intended to transform agricultural production, we’re still having a hard time insuring that people simply get enough to eat, and we seem to be more vulnerable to supply shocks than ever.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Over the past two decades, countries around the world have moved away from their focus on “food security” and handed market forces a greater role in shaping agricultural policy. Before the nineteen-eighties, developing countries had so-called “agricultural marketing boards,” which would buy commodities from farmers at fixed prices (prices high enough to keep farmers farming), and then store them in strategic reserves that could be used in the event of bad harvests or soaring import prices. But in the eighties and nineties, often as part of structural-adjustment programs imposed by the I.M.F. or the World Bank, many marketing boards were eliminated or cut back, and grain reserves, deemed inefficient and unnecessary, were sold off. In the same way, structural-adjustment programs often did away with government investment in and subsidies to agriculture—most notably, subsidies for things like fertilizers and high-yield seeds.

People try to catch fish at flooded rice fields in Me Linh district ... 
People try to catch fish at flooded rice fields in Me Linh district in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. The floods have ruined many of the area’s crops.(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

The logic behind these reforms was simple: the market would allocate resources more efficiently than government, leading to greater productivity. Farmers, instead of growing subsidized maize and wheat at high cost, could concentrate on cash crops, like cashews and chocolate, and use the money they made to buy staple foods. If a country couldn’t compete in the global economy, production would migrate to countries that could. It was also assumed that, once governments stepped out of the way, private investment would flood into agriculture, boosting performance. And international aid seemed a more efficient way of relieving food crises than relying on countries to maintain surpluses and food-security programs, which are wasteful and costly.

This “marketization” of agriculture has not, to be sure, been fully carried through. Subsidies are still endemic in rich countries and poor, while developing countries often place tariffs on imported food, which benefit their farmers but drive up prices for consumers. And in extreme circumstances countries restrict exports, hoarding food for their own citizens.

Related:
Vietnam to grow genetically modified crops

Read the rest:
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2008/11/2
4/081124ta_talk_surowiecki

Rain In Vietnam Slows Crop Deliveries; Drives prices….

November 10, 2008

By Claudia Carpenter

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) — Robusta coffee rose for a second day in London on speculation rain will slow shipment of a record crop from Vietnam, the world’s largest grower.

Rains in central and southern Vietnam may disrupt collection and transportation of beans, according to U.S. weather forecaster Meteorlogix LLC. Coffee dropped 22 percent last month as Vietnam began harvesting the crop estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at a record 21 million bags. Commodity prices climbed following gains in crude oil and a drop in the dollar.

“Rains delay the whole process,” said Stefan Uhlenbrock, senior commodity analyst at German research company F.O. Licht. “They do not have in-house drying facilities so they have to more or less dry the coffee outside.”

Robusta for January delivery rose $22, or 1.3 percent, to $1,762 a metric….

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601012&sid=aW9Xp8vyLF_c

By Claudia

Flood chaos in China and Vietnam

November 5, 2008

The toll from flooding and landslides in Vietnam and south China is rising, with at least 51 dead in China and reports of 92 dead in Vietnam.

In the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, a clean-up is beginning after floods swept across the north of the country.

Parts of south-western China have been hit by the worst flooding in more than a century, Chinese state media said.

A girl and her bicycle are carried on a raft through a flooded street in Hanoi, Vietnam on 4 November 2008

Above: It was the heaviest rain in Vietnam for decades

Heavy rain over the past 10 days has caused landslides and mud-rock flows in the province of Yunnan.

At least 43 people are missing in China’s south-west, official media reported.

Century’s worst

The China Daily newspaper said the downpours in Guangxi province caused the worst floods in its capital Nanning since 1907.

From the BBC

Hundreds of soldiers, police and medical teams have been sent to the flooded areas, along with rice and clothing for the victims.

More than 60,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since Tuesday, state media added.

In Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, four people died and torrents of mud have flowed through towns and villages elsewhere, the China Daily said.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (2nd L) and his ... 
Despite heavy rains and flooding in Hanoi, government goes on. 
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (2nd L) and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen (2nd R) review the guards of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi November 4, 2008.REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM)

Heavy storms have blocked roads, destroyed crops and homes, damaged reservoirs and dams, and caused $100m (£63m) in economic damage, state media said.

Vietnam clean-up

Weather forecasters in Vietnam said the country had suffered the worst rains in 35 years.

At least 74 people are confirmed to have died in the floods in Hanoi and northern Vietnam in over a week of heavy rain – though the Associated Press news agency quotes Vietnamese authorities as saying the total had risen to 92 people.

Life is returning to normal in the capital as a huge clean-up gets under way.

Residents found more than 30cm (1ft) of mud in their homes at the height of the flooding.

Pumping stations are at work removing millions of cubic metres of water from the capital’s neighbourhoods.

Dykes across the Red River delta, intended to protect the capital city, have been a focus of concern, with troops on standby.

Although the region suffers annual deluges, this year counts among the worst experienced in recent years.

Vietnam floods kill 12, capital Hanoi under water

October 31, 2008

HANOI (AFP) – Floods have killed at least 12 people in central Vietnam, emergency services said Friday, as heavy rains lashed the capital Hanoi and left many streets under one metre (three feet) of water.

Worst-hit central Ha Tinh province — where muddy waters inundated dozens of homes and hundreds of hectares of rice and other crops — reported seven deaths, said the National Flood and Storm Prevention Committee.

People make their way through a flooded street in downtown Hanoi ... 
People make their way through a flooded street in downtown Hanoi following heavy rains, on October 31. At least 12 people were killed in central Vietnam by the floods in recent days, according to official reports.(AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam)

“A 48-year-old man was swept away after feeding his buffalo and a 19-year-old man was killed on the way to husk rice,” said the committee’s online report, adding that three of the victims were children.

More deaths were reported from Nghe An, Quang Ngai and Quang Nam provinces.

A week of heavy rains has swollen rivers and triggered flash floods and landslides in the region, where downpours continued Friday.

In northern Vietnam, the capital Hanoi was also hit by heavy rains that turned streets into rivers and caused traffic chaos, leaving many people stranded as flood waters soaked their motorcycle engines.

Vietnam gets lashed by typhoons, tropical storms and heavy rains every year. According to government figures, floods and landslides in Vietnam last year left 435 people dead and missing.

 

At least 51 dead, 10 missing in Vietnam floods

August 10, 2007

Sent to Us By IANS

Friday August 10, 2007

Hanoi, Aug 10 (RIA Novosti) At least 51 people have died and 10 have been declared missing in central Vietnam, following torrential rains and flooding, officials said.

The floods have already destroyed about 60,000 homes in eight central provinces, leaving 70,000 hectares of arable land under water, crippling the country’s transport system, and disabling power lines. About 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, officials said Thursday.

Emergency and rescue services are continually receiving reports of casualties and damage, but communications have been almost entirely lost in some disaster-stricken residential areas.

Residents of the Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces, which have been hardest-hit by the tropical storms, and where floodwaters have reached up to three meters, said the inundation is the worst the regions have seen in half a century.

On Wednesday, Vietnamese Railways announced that all rail transit in the country would be suspended until further notice.

National authorities estimate financial damage so far at tens of millions of dollars.