Viet Nam

CARE helps prevent food shortage in Viet Nam after recent floods

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Ten tons of seeds distributed in time to produce April harvest
ATLANTA (February 16, 2000) - The international relief and development organization CARE is distributing seeds for immediate planting to vulnerable families throughout the flood-affected province of Quang Nam in central Vietnam. More than 80 people died and nearly 20,000 homes were washed away or damaged when the province was hit by a deluge of some 18 inches of rain in early November.

Before the recent break in the weather, relief efforts were hindered by the continuous heavy rains, which are part of Vietnam's rainy season.

"CARE is one of the few organizations working in Quang Nam, one of the worst-hit provinces," explains Nita Hassan, CARE's program officer for Asia. "During the heaviest flooding, the area was virtually inaccessible - even the phone lines were cut."

The provincial authorities are taking care of meeting immediate, short-term food needs. They also are helping restore the area's irrigation system and providing access to additional land so farmers have somewhere to plant their crops. CARE is providing families in 12 districts of Quang Nam Province with vegetable seeds to prevent a prolonged shortage of food.

Only certain types of vegetable seeds are suitable for planting in central Vietnam this time of year. Accordingly, CARE is distributing 10 tons of various seeds - such as morning glory, runner beans and lettuce - to provide food for some 24,000 people in the province. The planting is expected to be completed by mid-February to ensure that the harvest will be ready no later than April.

"Given the chronic need and extensive destruction in Quang Nam, CARE most likely will be working in the province for quite some time," notes Hassan. "Once emergency needs are met, additional recovery efforts may include longer-term agricultural rehabilitation, disaster preparedness and community development work."

The November floods were Vietnam's worst in a century, killing more than 500 people throughout the country and causing millions of dollars worth of damage.

CONTACT: Amy Lynn O'Toole, (404) 681-4579 ext. 453