Vietnam sets up Y2K contingency task force

Vietnam is preparing for "unexpected accidents" caused by Year 2000-related failures and has set up a task force which will be on round-the-clock alert from December 31 to January 3, the country's Year 2000 Contingency Committee said.

Problems may occur with power and water supply, and the control of off-shore crude oil production, the committee said in a statement.

Year 2000 problems are most likely to hit Vietnam between 7pm local time on December 31, (midday GMT), when New Zealand becomes the first country to move into 2000, and the same time the next day, when Samoa will be the last country to do so, according to Chu Hao, deputy minister of science, technology and the environment.

Some major computer users - such as Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), which operates a nationwide power distribution network - have not been able to test Year 2000-compliance in every component of their integrated systems because they were being constantly used, according to the committee.

One generator at EVN's Vinh Son plant on the central coast remains threatened because the control-panel software cannot be fixed, but this will be operated manually during the date changeover, Hao said in the statement.

Among the sectors which have declared Year 2000-compliance are the international and domestic telephone companies; Vietnam Airlines; the finance, public security, defence, industry and health sectors, and the State Bank of Vietnam.

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