Viet Nam

Over 1.5 million children at risk due to floods in central Viet Nam, says UNICEF

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The children agency is allocating an immediate $100,000 for emergency relief to the most affected people

Ha Noi/Quang Binh (Viet Nam) – 22 October, 2020 - Widespread flooding and landslides in 5 provinces in central Viet Nam, have left more than 1.5 million children at risk of disease, poor nutrition and delayed development. At least 135,000 families have been directly impacted by flood water levels as high as 2 meters in certain communes, and over half a million people unable to access protected water sources.

Family homes are devastated, crops and livelihoods are destroyed, and infrastructure is damaged. To date, 42 commune health stations are reported damaged and many more are isolated and inaccessible due to the flood waters, leaving mothers and children separated from the basic and preventative health care so important in such times of heightened disease risk. In many locations, schools have been damaged and remain closed temporarily. As a result, nearly 1.2 million students are currently out of school and learning is disrupted. The window to provide relief is narrow as a new cyclone nears the same coastal region and could make landfall in the next days.

UNICEF experts have joined a team led by the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority and they have reached the most affected provinces assessing the situation of children and women to know the full extent of the needs. Based on that information, UNICEF will raise and allocate further funds and expertise to support the Government, to support communities to address the many challenges.

“The flood and landslides have caused severe damage in the communes visited. Schools have been damaged, and books and other learning material are destroyed by water. The population can’t access running water, toilets are under water, and the lack of personal hygiene and sanitation is increasing the risk and we are already seeing diseases such as diarrhea and gynecological diseases,” said Ly Phat Viet Linh, UNICEF Emergency Specialist traveling to Quang Binh, one of the most affected provinces so far.

“UNICEF has allocated an initial $100,000 for emergency relief in water, sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, and education, as well as psychosocial support and child protection,“ said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam. “While we urgently address health risks, we must also get children back to learning. Given the circumstances many may need to return to online learning – so assessing access and connectivity is an important action for the education team. At the same time, we need to pay careful attention to the children’s mental wellbeing – acutely aware of how such disasters impact children - not just their physical health and nutrition, but women and children often face increased protection risks and they always experience stress and anxiety that we must address as quickly as possible”, Flowers added.

With the prediction of further rain, UNICEF is monitoring carefully the health risks, including identifying solutions to address the challenges now faced - such as disease spread, lack of nutritious foods for women and children, health checks and care for pregnant women or maintaining routine immunization services.

“As the reports come in from UNICEF staff in the affected provinces – the damage is heartbreaking and the risks to children mounting. These populations were already suffering from the impact of COVID, and their capacity to bounce back is tested. UNICEF extends its sincere condolences to those affected and we call on our family of supporters all over the world to support the recovery efforts”, concluded Rana Flowers.

Media Contacts

Mr Louis Vigneault-Dubois UNICEF Viet Nam Tel: +84 (024) 3850 0100 Email: lvigneault@unicef.org