Viet Nam

Vietnam Flood and typhoon disaster Situation Report No. 3 (Final)

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
Appeal No. 13/96
BACKGROUND

Between July and November 1996, Vietnam suffered a series of typhoons, floods and tropical low pressure storms. The first typhoon, named Frankie, struck many of Vietnam's northern provinces and caused massive damage to paddy fields, houses, schools, clinics and other infrastructure. Since it occurred in the middle of the rice planting season , damage inflicted on crops was extensive. The total damage was estimated at USD 200 million. About 80 people died and many were injured.

In response to the disaster, the Vietnam Red Cross mobilised its network in all the affected provinces. Youth volunteers and other RC members assisted in evacuating people to safer places, giving first aid and recovering dead bodies. In all, 30,000 people were evacuated to safer ground. A total of 40,000 working days were spent on dike protection and 1.5 million working days on rebuilding houses after the disaster, cleaning the environment and organising self help groups . In the five most affected provinces VND 5.2 billion was raised locally for the disaster victims.

In August the Vietnam Red Cross decided to seek international assistance. The Federation Appeal, seeking CHF 747,000 to assist 90,000 beneficiaries in five of the worst hit provinces, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nam Ha, Ninh Binh and Hoa Binh, was launched on 21 August.

The operation was divided into two phases. In the first phase 50,000 people were to be assisted with 10 kg of rice per person and receive blankets, mosquito nets, clothes, medical kits and cooking utensils. In the second phase 40,000 beneficiaries were to receive 10 kg of rice for two months. Due to delays in funding from ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office) through the French Red Cross, the plans had to be changed. In the first phase rice, medical kits and clothes were distributed; in the second phase blankets, mosquito nets, cooking utensils, some medical kits and rice for two months were distributed .

The Appeal was completely covered within a month after its launching. In one case earmarked funds, the 90,000 ECU from the European Community through the French Red Cross for funding of blankets, cooking utensils and mosquito nets, were formalised into a separate project.

The first phase distribution was carried out between 2 and 14 October, the second phase between 1 November and 12 December . Some delays in distribution was caused by late purchasing and in some cases slow local implementation.

RED CROSS OBJECTIVES AND ACTION PLAN

Objectives

The general objectives of the operation were

=B0 to provide emergency relief to 90,000 of the most vulnerable people in five of the worst-affected provinces.
=B0 to enable beneficiaries to remain in their communities and undertake rehabilitation of their houses, paddy fields, clinics, schools, roads, etc.
=B0 to reduce future vulnerability by providing rice, clothes, medicine, blankets, mosquito nets and cooking utensils to help compensate losses.

Action Plan

The table below shows what distributions were originally planned and what finally took place.

Item Unit Distributed Planned Deviation
Rice mt 1,379.27 1,300 79.27
Imosquito nets unit 10,000 10,000
Iblankets unit 11,000 10,000 1 ,000
ICooking utensils set 3,000 3,000
IClothes set 10,000 10,000
IMedical kits unit 400 400

For management control, a General Action Plan was drawn up by VNRC HQ and the Federation delegates at an early stage of the operation. It detailed all distribution and budget figures, including those for various indirect costs, down to provincial level. Thus , all forthcoming pledges, including the earmarked ones, could be easily linked up with the Red Cross provincial chapters and from there on be transformed into operational plans at district and commune levels.

Please refer to Annex 1 for detailed information on the overall distribution.

IMPLEMENTATION

In the original plan the first phase distribution was scheduled for September, but due to delays in planning for the distribution at provincial level and at VNRC HQs level, it started only on 2 October. By 14 October all provinces involved had completed the distribution without major problems. Cooking utensils, blankets and mosquito nets, also originally planned for first phase distribution, had to be moved to the second phase, to accommodate the ECHO contribution. The second phase distribution, planned for October and November, was also delayed as a result of the first phase delay. The second phase started on 6 November and was completed by the end of the month, except for the distribution of the ECHO items -- blankets, mosquito nets and cooking utensils -- which continued up to mid December.

In all provinces and districts implementation was carried out in close co-operation with the local People's Committees, whose representatives participated in beneficiary selections as well as distribution procedures. Purchasing was carried out in accordance with pre-defined quality standards and on a quotation basis, usually with the involvement of the Price Control Department of the local authorities . In all cases, north as well as south, beneficiaries were selected through well defined criteria and in close co-operation with representatives of the affected communities. Distribution procedures included detailed beneficiary registration, and distribution records were kept properly.

The Relief Operation

The relief operation included five of the worst hit provinces affected by Typhoon Frankie: Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nam Ha, Ninh Binh and Hoa Binh.

Ninety thousand poor and vulnerable beneficiaries were originally targeted, but due to lower than anticipated prices for rice and blankets and some changes in the modus operandi for the distribution of cooking utensils, the number of beneficiaries could be increased to 123,624. Beneficiary selection criteria were based on:

=B0 Level of damage to family property
=B0 Families with loss of lives
=B0 Degree of vulnerability, such as families with many children, with handicapped persons in the household, with widows and many old people.
=B0 Size of paddy field compared to family size.

RESULTS OBTAINED

In terms of quantities distributed, the plans and objectives of the operation were met and , as explained above, some operational coverage was higher than originally planned. The original target of 90,000 beneficiaries was increased considerably, to 123,624, because of lower prices but also because of decisions in some district to share out both rice and cooking utensils among more people. In Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa provinces some communities decided to share the rice of 10 kg per person between more persons. T his happened in communities of minority people where all those living there were considered equally poor, and the village council decided it was more appropriate to share the rice in this way.

All relief items were distributed on a family beneficiary basis, except for the rice, clothes and medical kits.

Rice:
- The planned distribution was 1,300 tons, but the actual quantity delivered, because of lower than anticipated prices, was 1,379.27 tons. The rice was distributed to 87,224 people.

Blankets:
- The quantity originally planned was 10,000 blankets, the number actually purchased, because of lower prices on blankets, was 11,000. The blankets were distributed to 11,000 beneficiaries.

Mosquito nets:
- 10,000 PCS were distributed to 10,000 beneficiaries in 10,000 households.

Clothes:
- 10,000 sets were distributed to 10,000 people.

Cooking utensils:
- 3,000 sets of three items each were distributed to 5,400 households against the original 3,000 families.

Medical units:
- 400 units were distributed as planned.

Quality measures

Although there were some delays in the implementation of the Appeal, we consider that the first objective of providing emergency relief to target beneficiaries was met. The people in the target group were among the most poor and needy, and the rice and other relief items were seen as a contribution towards helping them overcome their difficulties and losses.

The food shortages they suffered justified the term of emergency relief, even though the first distribution from the International Appeal took place two months after the disaster. In this context it is also important to remember that the Vietnam Red Cross, in the days and weeks following the disaster, carried out substantial relief contributions from locally-raised funds. The international contributions further strengthened and secured a relief continuum in a very difficult time for the vulnerable.

As for the second objective, to enable the beneficiaries to remain in their communities and take part in the rehabilitation of their rice fields, houses and other infrastructure , the VNRC/Federation supported relief operation certainly contributed towards this goal.

The third objective of reducing future vulnerability was met to the degree that the target group, through the assistance, were relieved of some of their material worries and put more of their energy into rehabilitation of their fields .

PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED

During implementation

During implementation, the IFRC/VNRC monitoring team came across two incidents, one in Thanh Hoa province and one in Hoa Binh province, where the quality of rice did not match quality samples and had to be rejected and replaced with the right quality. The incident in Thanh Hoa involved 10 tons of rice in Thuong Xuan, Nhoc Phung and Xuan Cam communes.

The distribution in the two communes was stopped by the Federation DP Delegate and rescheduled to take place two days later, after the Thanh Hoa Food Company agreed to replace the entire quantity of rice. Checking at random at other distribution points in the province did not reveal any other such cases .

In Hoa Binh province a similar incident occurred, involving three distribution points, one in Tan Lac district, a remote mountainous district, and at two distribution points in Hoa Binh town. The quantity in question was 27 tons. Again, the Provincial Food Company replaced the rice following Red Cross complaints.

In both cases the VNRC sent people from its Headquarters to investigate why this happened and how.

During distributions Federation and VNRC staff travelled constantly to monitor and supervise the distribution in all five provinces. Apart from the incidents mentioned the operation went according to plan and without major problems.

After implementation
By 15 December 1996 the two distribution phases were completed, and reporting could begin. The work of compiling reports and records from chapters was time consuming and sometimes reporting was inadequate, necessitating requests for additional data and information. As mentioned in many Federation reports, the Disaster Preparedness (DP) Department of VNRC is understaffed and badly needs more personnel. This shortcoming was again revealed during t his operation and now must be addressed as a priority matter.

MONITORING

The Federation has one DP Delegate permanently based in Hanoi and a Development/Relief Delegate in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). During the relief operation the DP Delegate focused on assisting VNRC with overall planning, but also spent considerable time on monitoring and supervision in the field during distributions. The Delegate from HCMC was also called on to take part in monitoring distributions .

FINANCES

Due to specific reporting requirements, the operation was divided into two parts - one ECHO funded part and one part funded by all other sources - each with its own operational budget. However text and figures in this report reflect the total picture.

Contributions and expenditures

Please refer to Annex 2. The appeal coverage included CHF 200,000 in balance from the 1994 flood relief operation (PVN501).

On the expenditure side, no major deviations occurred. Details on ECHO items will be reported on separately.

It is recommended that the balance of this appeal be used for the VNRC's disaster preparedness programme in 1997. Please inform the Federation Secretariat before end of March 1997, if any of the donors disagree with this proposal.

GENERAL CONCLUSIONS

The relief operation achieved its objective of reducing the impact of the damage caused by the storms and Typhoon Frankie. Some 123,000 people among the most poor and vulnerable received assistance enabling them to reduce the effect of their losses and carry on with their lives.

By and large the relief operation was carried out with professionalism by the VNRC, and there is no doubt that this operation has further promoted VNRC as a lead organisation in emergency relief work in Vietnam. The overwhelming local response and local contributions to VNRC (the equivalent of 447,270 US dollars) confirms this.

The media coverage was very good, with reports on CNN, Reuters and BBC in addition to extensive national and provincial coverage.

Although VNRC has again stood the test of carrying out a major relief distribution, the operation revealed the need to strengthen its organisation, including the DP and Finance Departments. This should now be given new priority. The work load on the staff is too high and normal routines and work suffer during relief operations.

The Federation would like to thank donors for their generous support of the appeal.

Luc Voeltzel, Head, Appeals & Reports Service
Simon Missiri Acting Director, Asia & Pacific Department

Annex 1

DISTRIBUTIONS, APPEAL 13/96

Item Province Quantity Supported Districts Supported Commune Supported Households No. of Beneficiaries
Rice (Ton) Nam Ha
Ninh Binh
Thai Binh
Thanh Hoa
Hoa Binh
Total
377.69
243.400
261
246.175
251
1,379.27
13
7
8
17
10
55
73
65
89
55
99
381
18,191
12,056
16,950
10,345
11,076
68,618
24,269
15,350
16,950
14,905
17,750
87,224
CLOTHES (set) Nam Ha
Ninh Binh
Thai Binh
Thanh Hoa
Hoa Binh
Total
3,500
2,000
2,500
1,000
1,000
10,000
13
5
6
7
5
36
160
20
35
31
20
266
3,500
1,978
2,500
1,000
1,000
9,978
3,500
2,000
2,500
1,000
1,000
10,000
BLANKET (unit) Nam Ha
Ninh Binh
Thai Binh
Thanh Hoa
Hoa Binh
Total
3,500
2,000
2,500
1,500
1,500
11,000
13
4
8
12
5
42
163
20
95
39
20
337
3,500
1,999
2,500
1,500
1,500
10,999
3,500
2,000
2,500
1,500
1,500
11,000
MOSQUITO NET (unit) Nam Ha
Ninh Binh
Thai Binh
Thanh Hoa
Hoa Binh
Total
3,500
2,000
2,500
1,000
1,000
10,000
13
4
8
7
5
37
162
20
95
31
20
328
3,500
2,000
2,500
1,000
1,000
10,000
3,500
2,000
2,500
1,000
1,000
10,000
COOKING UTENSILS (set) Nam Ha
Ninh Binh
Thai Binh
Thanh Hoa
Hoa Binh
Total
1,000
400
600
500
500
3,000
13
3
8
7
5
36
143
10
95
31
20
299
1,200
400
1,800
1,000
500
5,400
1,200
400
1,800
1,000
500
5,400
MEDICAL KIT (unit) Nam Ha
Ninh Binh
Thai Binh
Thanh Hoa
Hoa Binh
Total
110
60
80
80
70
400
18
8
7
9
5
47
85
30
35
40
20
210
GRAND TOTAL 253 1,821 104,995 123,624