UNICEF introduces BOKOMI model in Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction in Ninh Thuan

BOKOMI model is a community-based disaster risk reduction model, which is widely implemented in Japan.

Hayato Umetani

26 April 2019

Viet Nam is located in the eastern Indochina, and borders with China, Lao PDR, and Cambodia. The land is narrow strip and the climate is temperate in the north and tropical in the south with rainy season from April to October and dry season from October to March. For these reasons, every year Viet Nam is affected by natural disasters, such as, typhoon, flood, and drought, causing 10,800 dead or missing persons and economic loss to the GDP of approximately 280,00 billion VND (1,200 million USD) in the past 20 years. In addition, the natural disasters have been increasingly serious due to climate change, so that Viet Nam is one of the most affected countries by natural disasters and climate change.

One of the reasons of high risk of natural disasters is that there are vulnerable groups, such as, children, women, people with disabilities, and so on. In particular, children are recognised as the most vulnerable group because of mentally and physically immature and high dependency on their parents and caregivers. Especially, multidimensional poverty is fundamental issue of the vulnerability. Multidimensional poverty is poverty taking into account not only low income, but also nutrition, sanitation, health, education and so on. Thus, issues like malnutrition and stunt make children more vulnerable against natural disasters. These issues are more serious in remote area than urban area because people in remote area tend not to benefit from the high economic growth.

Delivering emergency aid of 58 billion VND (2.5 million USD), government of Japan contributed to the issues of drought and salt water intrusion in Viet Nam through UNICEF in 2016 and in order to response to the risk of natural disasters UNICEF and government of Viet Nam implement “Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction” which works on disaster risk reduction, reducing vulnerability, at the same time, working on multidimensional poverty.

In a pre-school in Ninh Thuan province, UNICEF set up drinking water tank for a time of emergency in cooperation with government of Japan. Also, in order to maintain good hygiene, teachers instruct students to handwash. According to the principal, students always wash their hands before having lunch.


In cooperation with government of Japan and Viet Nam, health centre was established for emergency response. The health centre in Ninh Thuan province is working on the treatment of communicable diseases, malnutrition, and malaria. However, a nurse working at the health centre told there are challenges, such as, lack of financial resource and no doctor staying every day. In addition, while Kinh people get majority in Viet Nam, there are the other 53 ethnic minority groups having different language and custom, so that they are facing challenges for sharing information regarding health and disasters.

Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction which UNICEF is currently working on aims to apply BOKOMI model which is a community-based disaster risk reduction model implemented in Kobe city, Hyogo, Japan. From the lessons learnt of the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, BOKOMI works on disaster risk reduction on the basis of the communities and neighbours. In the times of disasters, rescue operations can rarely reach disaster affected areas due to collapse of buildings. Therefore, BOKOMI promotes the idea of “self-help” in which residents protect themselves with their own effort, carrying out disaster risk reduction drills and the idea of “mutual-help” in which residents protect their own town in cooperation with communities and neighbours.


Japan is one of the most disaster-affected countries and the experiences and techniques are useful in Viet Nam as well. Meanwhile, if the Japanese disaster management models were implemented in Viet Nam, knowledge would be shared and created and it would make synergy, so that disaster management power of both countries would be further improved.

In cooperation between Viet Nam and Japan, UNICEF continue to work on disaster risk reduction by improving disaster management power and resilience of communities in Viet Nam, including the implementation of BOKOMI model.

We appreciate support from Japan for disaster risk reduction in Viet Nam. Meanwhile, we call for further support for children in Viet Nam.

In 2016, about 58 billion VND (25 million USD) of emergency assistance to drought and salt water intrusion in Viet Nam was granted by government of Japan.