"This compounds the damage from earlier floods which left 600 people dead and 1.8 million people facing starvation and homelessness," explained Chris Gilson Catholic Relief Services Country Representative in Vietnam. Adding to this loss, recent flash floods have killed at least 66 people.
Catholic Relief Services' Response
Catholic Relief Services has delivered rice, mosquito nets and cooking kits to families in two districts of Quang Tri province and three districts of Thua Thien-Hue province. Agency staff continue to work in close coordination with the local provincial authorities.
Mr. Hoi, 77 years old, lives with his family in one of the provinces Catholic Relief Services is reaching. His family is one of the poorest in the village but the heavy damage of two continuous floods made their lives even more difficult. Their pigs and chickens, the most valuable things in their family, were swept away. Their rice crop was totally destroyed.
Mr. Hoi's family received over 88 pounds of rice from Catholic Relief Services. Mr. Hoi said, "I have mixed feelings right now. I can't smile because the damage was so serious that it will take us a very long time to get back to our normal life. At the same time I am happy because many kind people from the US thought of us and are helping us overcome this calamity."
An estimated $3 million worth of relief supplies are still needed. These needs include cooking kits, rice, water, soap, housing, and reconstruction materials for houses and other infrastructure.
For two months now, floodwaters continue to pound the central provinces - the worst in recorded history. The flooding has killed more than 600 people and left almost two million people homeless. Additionally the flooding has 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 almost ready to be transplanted into the rice paddies. In Quang Nam province, 400 hectares of land was swept away and 1,200 hectares were filled with mud and debris.
Catholic Relief Services first worked in Vietnam between 1951 and 1975, distributing food and supplies and supporting social services. The agency returned in 1992 and focuses on agriculture, enterprise development and education programs.