At least 20 people died and 12,000 homes were flooded as Typhoon Lingling came ashore on Vietnam's central coastline early Monday morning.
The winds and rains sank over 230 small fishing boats and damaged nearly 500 hectares of crops, over 3000 hectares of orchards and some 70% of local paddies. The total damage caused by the storm is estimated at some US$12 million, according to early reports from the National Committee for Storm and Flood Control.
None of the 10,000 homes built by the International Federation and the Vietnam Red Cross in the Central Provinces following serious flooding in 1998 and 1999, were affected in any way.
The Vietnam Red Cross has released 100 million dong ($7,000) from its Emergency Response Fund for relief and rehabilitation work in the three worst-affected pronvinces. "We want to show our support and willingness for action," says Nguyen Hai Duong, vice-president of the VNRC.
"Later we may organise fundraising for further support to the affected communities. We are allocating 40 million for Phu Yen province, 30 million for Bihn Dihn, 20 for Quang Ngai and 10 million dong for Dac Lac,"he said.
The storm which also hit the Philippines late last week, weakened when it came ashore but it continued to rain heavily in the central provinces yesterday. In all, seven provinces were affected - three seriously, where over three hundred homes collapsed. Hundreds more partially collapsed and up to 12,000 homes were flooded.
"Fortunately this was a relatively small disaster, compared to what we have had in previous years," says Ian Wilderspin, the International Federation's disaster manager in Vietnam. "The threat was large over the weekend, but as the the storm hit the coast, it lost much of its force."
Bo Backstrom, the Federation's Head of Delegation in Vietnam, adds that "in the aftermath of the storm the local Red Cross and VNRC HQ are closely monitoring the situation to determine whether further response is required. The fear is that Vietnam could be faced with a succession of such storms, causing further flooding, damage and loss of lives. That was the case in 1999, when over 300 lives were lost."
Vietnam Red Cross volunteers in the worst affected provinces, Phu Yen, Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai, are currently assessing the damage and the need for Red Cross assistance. They are distributing blankets, food and shelter material to the worst affected in isolated communities.