Viet Nam

Flood Relief in Vietnam Update Fall 2000

Catholic Relief Services remains committed to flood relief efforts in Vietnam's central provinces. The flooding of 1999-2000 was the worst to hit Vietnam in the last century.
Catholic Relief Services, with contributions from Vietnamese Catholic Community of Orange County, California and Norway, has committed more than $436,000 to the floods.

The Rebuilding Continues

Catholic Relief Services and the People's Committee of Thua Thien Hue (affiliated with Vietnamese Government) signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating that the agency will build approximately 120 houses in the Quang Tri provinces. The floods destroyed over 12,000 houses in the two provinces.

Officials in the provinces have requested that Catholic Relief Services assist in the reconstruction of additional schools and health clinics. CRS/Vietnam staff work closely with local officials and project beneficiaries, ensuring that work is completed on time and meets quality standards. Catholic Relief Services remains dedicated to developing long-term program goals to address preparedness and response capacity in areas annually subjected to emergencies.

The provinces assist with the land titles, foundations and all of the legal aspects of the projects. Catholic Relief Services worked with the architects on the design of the houses, making sure they can withstand the geographic conditions in the region.

Recent Activities:

Catholic Relief Services staff visited four construction sites in the Hue and Quang Tri Provinces and met with beneficiaries and the Local People's committee where they finalized construction plans for the villages. The size and design of the houses are measured into groups, accommodating families of six or more, as well as designs for families of five or less.

Individual families contributed labor and supplies including sand, wood, bamboo and other locally available materials. Housing projects began this past spring and will be coordinated in two phases. Catholic Relief Services established a temporary field office in Hue while housing activities continue.

Ma Ne Village:

Catholic Relief Services began reconstruction work in the Ma Ne Village. The agency provided two boats to assist with the transportation and construction materials. In case of an emergency situation, the boats will be used for evacuation of local villagers. Forty-three houses were constructed for families that lost their homes in the flood and were determined as most in need. Additionally, Catholic Relief Services assisted with the design of a two story, six-classroom school that served as shelter during flood situations.

Catholic Relief Services helped to rebuild and widen the road into Ma Ne. The road is very narrow and during floods prevents children from attending school and families obtaining necessary supplies.

Phuoc Loc Village/Hai Duong Commune:

Caritas Norway visited Phuoc Loc Village and emphasized the need for a drinking water system, housing and school construction, similar to the one in the Ma Ne village. Floods first struck the Phuoc Loc Village late last year and the agency quickly provided fishing nets to the poorest villagers who lost all of their belongings during the floods.

Catholic Relief Services began housing construction simultaneously in Phuoc Loc Village/Hai Duong Commune. A total of thirty houses were built during phase two of the reconstruction project. A new school was also constructed in Phuoc Loc that will serve as a shelter. The agency will also construct a clean water system with a pumping station and water filtration system.

In the Hai Hoa Commune of the Quang Tri province, a total of sixty-four homes were constructed.

Background of the Situation:

Throughout the winter months of 1999-2000, the worst floodwaters in recorded history pounded the central provinces. The flooding killed more than 600 people and left almost two million people homeless. Additionally, the floods destroyed 12,000 homes, damaged thousands of hectares of cultivated fields, killed cows and buffaloes (vital for plowing the rice fields), and swept away or damaged more than 10,000 tons of rice seedlings. A total of $300,000 donated to the agency from Vietnamese Catholic Community of Orange County, California will be used for housing and reconstruction of schools.

Agency History:

Catholic Relief Services first worked in Vietnam from 1951 to 1975, distributing humanitarian assistance and supporting social services, primarily in the south. The agency returned to Vietnam in 1992, initially by supporting activities in partnership with other Catholic organizations.

Your support is needed.

Donations can also be made by calling:
or by sending checks to:
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090.

Copyright=A92000 CRS