Training the early career researchers for disaster and climate risk

On Nov. 18, 2020, a training course for the early career researchers (ECRs) on Emerging Technologies for Disaster and Climate Risk was held in conjunction with the International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Environment 2020 (SAE 2020) at Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The training course was coordinated by Prof. Trung Q. Duong (Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK) and Dr. Nguyen-Son Vo (Duy Tan University), and Prof. Loi Kim Nguyen (Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).

Fig. 1: Group picture at the plenary session

In Vietnam, landslides and flash floods are major natural disasters that have caused severe damage to people and property in northern mountainous provinces, central, and central highlands of Vietnam. More than 250 landslides and flash floods occurred between 2000 and 2015, causing 779 fatalities; 426 injuries; 100,000 houses were destroyed; more than 75,000 hectares of rice and crops lost; and many transportation and irrigation systems damaged. Economic losses were estimated at billions of USD. In 2017, due to these hazards, 71 people died or were missing, 4109 houses collapsed, and 13,246 households swept away in the northern mountainous areas alone [National Report, 2017].

It is estimated that approximately 70% of Vietnam population are exposed to the risks of flooding, flash flood and landslides [WHO]. It is even more serious for people living in the mountainous areas due to the lack of communications and undeveloped road infrastructure. During these major disasters communication networks are vital in early hours of rescue. Short-term solutions such as IoT platforms and telecommunications networks have emerged and been tested in mountainous areas in Vietnam, but are point solutions with limited coverage, and not applicable in wide disaster-prone and isolated rural areas with difficult terrains. There is a strong case to develop new approaches together with current IoT technologies in order to overcome these limitations and allow early-warning systems that can minimise the risks.

Big data is doubling in size every two years and reaches 44 zettabytes in 2020. The underlying technology is currently growing at 26.4% per annum (IDC), which is six times the growth rate of the overall ICT market. Big data has been utilised as a very powerful tool and new technology to enable the realisation of innovative ubiquitous and trusted applications for the public, from smart digital environment to smart health management. Although significant advances in big data have been achieved in increasing community resilience to disasters and improving environmental monitoring to reduce environmental degradation, the success of these efforts are often limited by restrictions of available big data computing paradigm and a lack of the ability to collect and integrate relevant monitoring data. As a result, turning this growing big data technology into an opportunity for societal, environmental, and economic impact requires joint efforts from scientists, government, policy makers, stakeholders, and industry.

Fig. 2: ECRs and attendants at the plenary session

The training course provided the ECRs with the research themes in emerging applications and technologies of big data, IoT, B5G networks, and AI with a focus on how these themes can be diffused into the management of disasters such as landslides and flash floods, which are the critical issues affecting social-economic development and well-being in Vietnam mountainous provinces. The topics include (but are not limited to) big data science; IoT system and B5G network architecture; and artificial intelligence in the context of landslides and flash floods.

In particular, in the morning, the ECRs attended the plenary session with 03 interesting talks “Contribute to Finding Solutions for Agricultural Development to Adapt to Climate Change in Some Areas of South Vietnam”, “Smart Resilience Platform for Vietnam – Supporting Communities Threatened by Climate Risks”, and “Impacts of Climate Change on Livestock Production and Animal Health Solution Approaches” respectively given by Prof. Bui Cach Tuyen, Prof. Duong Quang Trung, and Assoc. Prof. Tran Thi Dan.

In the afternoon, the ECRs further attended 8 parallel sessions on “Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture”, Application of Biotechnology in Agriculture for Adaptation to Climate Change”, “Crops production Adaptable to Climate Change”, “Animal Production Adaptable to Climate Change”, “Advances in Food Processing and Preservation”, “Agriculture production and Supply Chains in the Context of Climate Change”, and “Advances in Animal Health” as well as 1 workshop on “emerging Technologies in Preventing Landsides and Flash Flood”.

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