Viet Nam

Viet Nam - Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 3

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2003/0136
OCHA Situation Report No. 3
Viet Nam - Floods
Began on 14 October 2003

This report is based on the assessment report prepared by the Disaster Management Working Group (DMWG) in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

Event and Impact

1. The week-long tropical monsoon mixed with a cold depression brought storm and heavy rainfall to Central Viet Nam from 14 to 19 October 2003. The rainfall ranging from 423 mm to more than 1,000 mm was recorded in five provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien Hue. The water level of the rivers in the area rose steadily from 0.53m to 2.08 m with the peak above Alarm III (the highest alarm level), which is equivalent to the peak of historic floods in 1999.

2. The floodwater inundated almost all lowland areas of the five provinces, of which Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai were the worst affected. The floods have claimed 52 lives, of which 25 in Binh Dinh and 21 in Quang Ngai, and injured 29 people. They submerged 43,349 houses and made nearly 1,000 houses collapse, leaving thousands of people living temporarily in relatives' or neighbors' houses. They also caused heavy damage to roads and other infrastructure and inundated nearly 12,000 ha of rice fields and 7,042 ha subsidiary crops. Sands brought in by floodwater from rivers affected the rice fields heavily. The total economic loss is estimated at nearly VND 260 billion (USD 16.9 million), as of 22 October 2003.

Needs Assessments by DMWG

3. In response to the floods, the Disaster Management Working Group (DMWG) consisting of the Government, United Nations Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) and NGOs decided to conduct a needs assessment. The two Joint Assessment Teams (JAT) were deployed to Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai, the worst affected provinces, from 22 to 26 October 2003, to assess the situation and identify needs to support the flood victims. The JATs consisted of members from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, UNDP, World Vision, Save the Children Alliance, Catholic Relief Services and Oxfam.

4. At the time of the assessments, the floodwater had receded in almost all areas except some low land fields and the victims are working hard to resume their livelihood with active support from local authorities and less-affected neighbors. However, the impact of the floods has been so immense that it is impossible for the affected people to cope with. The JATs have identified and prioritized the urgent needs in close consultation with local authorities and communities.

Emergency needs and proposed interventions

5. Based on the assessments, the JATs have identified the following requirements:

a) Provide shelters/private houses to the poor households with latrine, preservation facilities of drinking and cooking water: The approximately 1,000 families that have lost homes are under a great pressure of not having a place to live in and getting their livelihood back to normal, while severe floods are expected to occur again in November - December. Provincial authorities are trying to provide some plastic tents to these families as well as small cash assistance to support reconstruction of the houses.

b) Provide food to avoid hunger until next April: There is a strong commitment from provincial/district/commune levels to ensure that people will not suffer from hunger. Many efforts are taking place to distribute rice to the affected population. However, the resources provided by the Government and Provinces are not enough to cover the needs of all affected population.

c) Clear sand in rice fields to allow planting of winter-spring crops that will start in early December.

d) Quickly rehabilitate the most important broken dykes and rural roads and schools to allow quick resumption of children's education and avoid further damage by likely severe floods in November - December.

e) Provide water containers to preserve drinking and cooking water and hygiene kits.

6. The needs for emergency response and immediate rehabilitation can be met through "Cash for work" project which allows the most vulnerable, poor and female headed households to be involved in relief/rehabilitation work to earn for their life-support goods. Activities such as cleaning sand, and mud from agricultural lands, ponds and villages and building and repairing temporary dikes to protect villages and crops from coming floods should be carried out within 60 days.

Longer term needs

7. For a longer period, the JATs found it necessary to 1) rehabilitate shrimp farmers providing loans or subsidies from the Government, 2) continue advocacy with related governments for long-term disaster preparedness programs including awareness, resettlement and food support, and 3) repair dykes and dams.

International Response

8. OCHA has not received a request for international assistance yet.

9. OCHA is monitoring the situation in close collaboration with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Hanoi.

10. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Mr. Rudolf Mueller/ Mr. Soichi Nakajima
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 3131/ 40 34

Press contact:
(GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) - Mr. Brian Grogan, direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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