Viet Nam

Vietnam: Flash Floods DREF Operation No. MDRVN004


GLIDE no. FF-2008-000173-VNM

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

CHF 200,000 (USD 175,633 or EUR 127,837) has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the national society in delivering immediate assistance to some 6,000 families. Un-earmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

This DREF allocation will meet emergency needs for food items, providing almost 200 MT tons of rice for 10,000 people (20kg of rice for two months) and non-food items for over 2,000 affected families in two provinces (Bac Giang and Son La). The Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) with technical assistance from the International Federation's Vietnam country office will immediately procure and distribute these items to the selected affected families in October and November 2008. The DREF report and update on the recovery of these flash affected people will be regularly submitted between November 2008 and March 2009. An Emergency Appeal might be in the pipeline next week to assist affected people overcome the damage and live with dignity.

The situation

Over the past one and a half months, some 12 provinces in the northern mountainous region of Vietnam have been badly hit by subsequent disasters: typhoon Kammuri (August), flash floods following typhoon Hagupit (end September), and typhoon Mekkhala (end September). In provinces such as Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Bac Giang and Son La, local people have been badly hit by the compounding affects of these disasters.

In the wake of the recent typhoon Hagupit, six provinces were seriously affected by flash floods (Quang Ninh, Son La, Lang Son, Bac Giang, Vinh Phuc and Lao Cai) Of these six, two have been identified by VNRC as the worst affected and in need of further external assistance - Bac Giang and Son La. In Bac Giang, some 62 communes and towns in three districts were under deep water. Six districts of Son La were also inundated and Ta Hoc commune in Mai Son district was not accessible by road for one month. Other provinces have also been affected - in Quang Ninh, flash floods occurred in 70 communes in six districts. VNRC has already made distributions in these provinces, but does not assess that the need further external support from the DREF funding for the time being. According to communications with the Red Cross chapters on 1 October, water is subsiding in some areas, but it still remains difficult to access other areas due to the heavy damage caused by the floods. This is particularly the case in the two provinces targeted. Thousands of families (some 500,000 people) in those provinces are affected by the disaster and need immediate emergency assistance.

In addition, typhoon Mekkhala landed in the north-central part of Vietnam on 30 September, causing heavy rain and strong winds in five provinces (Ha Tinh, Thanh Hoa, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue). Although the storm reduced in strength, it has also left a trail of destruction in its wake, overwhelming limited provincial resources stretched by other disasters and floods, such as typhoon Lekima, year after year. So far however, assessments indicate that VNRC is coping with the response in these areas and does not need further external support. The ongoing tropical storm Higos is also moving fast toward China, causing risks to Vietnamese fishermen at sea and to coastal provinces. It is likely to have caused further heavy rains in the already affected provinces of Vietnam. VNRC stands ready to assess the damage caused by these two subsequent typhoons and to consider an international appeal if needs require it. All actors in the country have been on stand by and are ready to respond as required.