Viet Nam

Flood Relief in Vietnam: Update March 2000

Catholic Relief Services recently visited Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Tri in the central provinces and remains committed to Vietnam's flood relief efforts. Agency staff continues to respond to the worst flooding to hit Vietnam in the last century.
Mr Hoi: Thankful for Relief Efforts

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 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."

Catholic Relief Services Activities

CRS/Vietnam staff recently met with flood victims, visited sites where houses will be built, and discussed next steps with local officials with whom the agency is working. The provinces are responsible for assisting with the land titles, foundations and all of the legal aspects of the projects. Catholic Relief Services is working with the architects on the design of the houses, making sure they can withstand the geographic conditions in the region.

The Rebuilding Continues

Catholic Relief Services and the People's Committee of Thua Thien Hue signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating that the agency was committed to build approximately 120 houses in the Quang Tri and Thua Thien provinces. The floods destroyed over 12,000 houses in the two provinces.

Officials in both provinces have requested that Catholic Relief Services assist in the reconstruction of additional schools and health clinics. CRS/Vietnam staff will work closely with local officials and project beneficiaries to ensure that work is completed on time and meets quality standards.

Catholic Relief Services is dedicated to developing long-term program goals to address preparedness and response capacity in areas annually subjected to emergencies.

Current Situation

Throughout the fall and winter, the worst floodwaters in recorded history have pounded the central provinces. 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. 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. CRS returned to Vietnam in 1992, initially by supporting activities in partnership with other Catholic organizations.

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