Vietnam is estimated to lose around 1.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually due to property damage caused by natural disasters, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). MARD\'s Minister Cao Duc Phat made the statement at the seminar on Vietnam-Japan cooperation in natural disaster prevention and control held here on Friday, local Dan Tri (Knowledge for the People) reported on its website. Statistics showed that in recent years natural disasters tend to occur with greater frequency and so damages continue to rise. This is suspected to be a result of climate change, said the report quoting the minister as saying. Typhoon Linda claimed 778 lives, left 2,123 missing and 1,232 injured while causing property damage worth 593 million U.S. dollars when it raged through Vietnam\'s southern region from Bac Lieu to Ca Mau provinces in November 1997. In November 1999, several floods struck the central region from Quang Binh to Ninh Thuan provinces, causing 600 dead and missing and property losses worth 270 million dollars. Floods in the southern Mekong Delta region in November 2000 caused property damage worth 280 million dollars. In October of the same year, floods also caused losses of 140,000 dollars in the northern province of Lai Chau. Vietnam is trying to take measures to enhance its capacity for natural disaster prevention and control, and cooperation with foreign partners, including Japan, said the minister at the meeting. On the occasion, Vietnam and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in natural disaster prevention and control through 2020. Japan has succeeded in developing technologies that help with dam re-enforcement by using a satellite database, said Ohta Akihiro, Japanese minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, adding that application of such technologies would help enhance Vietnam\'s capacity in natural disaster prevention and control.