Viet Nam

UNICEF emergency assistance - Central Vietnam

Please find below some information regarding the emergency situation prevailing in Central Vietnam

UNICEF is releasing 60,000 USD to assist women and children victims of the worst floods since 1975 in the central Provinces of Vietnam.

Severe storms Chip, Dawn and Elvis raked the central coast of the country during the last three weeks and torrential rains from the end of October brought heavy flooding to some areas.

The storms left at least 270 people dead, 92 injured, while 16 people are listed as missing. The storms damaged 9,820 houses and left about 50,000 flooded. Some 145 schools are destroyed and 1,480 damaged, leaving thousands of pupils and students out of school for days and maybe weeks.

It is estimated that a total number of 50,000 people are left homeless, 25,000 having lost everything.

Human losses were mainly the result of capsized fishing boats and houses swept away by floodwaters. Almost all areas planted with spring/winter rice, all mature rice paddy ready for harvest, and areas planted with other crops were flooded for many days. According to the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control, these damages will severely affect the living conditions of local residents in 1999.

UNICEF is planning to dispatch the funds to the Ministry of Health (30,000 USD), to the Ministry of Education (15,000), to the Ministry of Agriculture and rural development (10,000 USD) and to the Committee of Protection and care for Children (5,000 USD) as soon as the Country Office receives more details on long-term needs from these various partners.

UNICEF will therefore assist in the sectors of education, early childhood, primary health care and assistance to some children in need of special protection.

The Government did not launch an official appeal for international assistance. However, it welcomes all kind of donations, preferably cash, according to the Central Committee for Flood and Storm control.

The 1st of December, the Fatherland Front, the communist party's mass organisation umbrella movement issued an appeal, which although official, is not an official appeal for international assistance. The appeal, however, has been circulated to a limited number of media organisation, but not to foreign embassies and other international organisations.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies yesterday issued an appeal seeking more than 2 millions Swiss Francs (about 1,4 million USD) for immediate and long-term relief assistance. Some embassies and private organisations are starting to provide funds.

[A joint United Nations press release will be launched (UNDAF) as soon as other UN agencies will finalised their plans and actions.] END