Viet Nam

Vietnam: Floods Situation Report No. 2

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
Appeal no. 32/99 - Period covered: 26 November - 7 December
Budget revision

After floods in early November in seven central provinces of Vietnam, further serious flooding occurred last week, adding another half a million people to the numbers affected. The new floods struck five of the seven provinces affected last month and an additional two provinces to the south In response to this new situation the Federation is increasing the amount of the Appeal launched on 2 November to CHF 7,433,000, in order to assist in a total of 258,000 households.

The context

Heavy flooding in the first week of November in seven central provinces of Vietnam affected more than one million people. After launching a preliminary appeal on 5 November, the Federation issued a full appeal on 25 November, seeking CHF 6,620,000 in order to assist 218,000 beneficiaries for 12 months. With more flooding in the first week of December, the appeal budget has been revised upwards, to CHF 7,433,000, in order to assist in a total of 258,000 households. With pledges announced to date totalling CHF 3,763,000, the net request is for CHF 3,670,000.

Latest events

Record breaking rainfall -- up to 1,800 mm in some places -- occurred between 1 and 6 December in the Central Provinces of Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa. This second onslaught of rain is exceptional since the storm and flood season is normally over by this time of year in Central Vietnam.

The rains caused flash floods in the mountainous areas of these provinces and large scale flooding in the low lying areas from Khanh Hoa to Thua Thien Hue. On 4 December, the flood water level of the Tra Khuc River (in Quang Ngai) rose to 8.36 m, breaking the 1964 record.. The flood water levels on other rivers in Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Khanh Hoa Provinces reached their highest levels in 40 years. Flood water levels in most rivers from Thua Thien Hue to Khanh Hoa Provinces fluctuated at, or above, After floods in early November in seven central provinces of Vietnam, further serious flooding occurred last week, adding another half a million people to the numbers affected. The new floods struck five of the seven provinces affected last month and an additional two provinces to the south In response to this new situation the Federation is increasing the amount of the Appeal launched on 2 November to CHF 7,433,000, in order to assist in a total of 258,000 households.

Alarm Levels II and III (dangerous and very dangerous flood conditions). In Quang Ngai province, the worst affected, the current swept away buildings and made rescue efforts, even by powerful patrol boats, impossible in some areas.

To date, 115 people have died, over 5,390 houses have been swept away and over 397, 000 are reported to have suffered serious damage.

The situation is the worst in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces. Over 6,000 households had to be evacuated in Quang Nam and over 5,000 households in Quang Ngai. In the provincial capitals of Quang Ngai Town and Tam Ky, in Quang Nam, many areas were under 1 to 2 metres of water. In Quang Ngai virtually all paddy fields were inundated with 2.5 to 3.5m of water. Many remote areas are still inaccessible.

In Thua Thien Hue over 54,000 houses were flooded, but the situation is reported as "being under control". In the provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa tens of thousand of households have been flooded and infrastructure and telecommunications has suffered severe damage.

For the second time in a month, people have been forced to flee their homes and seek shelter under plastic sheeting distributed by the Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) and the authorities, their blankets, clothing and food reserves washed away or destroyed by mud. For a second time, their livelihoods have been destroyed. Their paddy fields -- in some cases replanted with their few remaining resources or through relief handouts or loans -- have once again been swamped. They will surely miss the next cropping season, which must be completed in three weeks' time. The longer-term effect is a potential food deficit within the region, but more significantly, a shortage of food among many poor families for the next three to nine months seems inevitable.

The Government responded promptly, despatching 214 MT of instant noodles and 100,000 raincoats to Quang Ngai and Quang Nam provinces within the first 48 hours. Senior ministers went to the affected areas. High level meetings took place with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the General Department of Meteorology and Hydrology and the Ministry of Transportation and Communication. Military personnel and equipment were once again swiftly mobilised to rescue and assist people and protect the main reservoirs. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated by the authorities from vulnerable
areas.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

The VNRC immediately released USD 18,000 to the Red Cross Chapters in the seven provinces for the purchase of emergency food, plastic sheeting, the hire of boats for rescue and emergency distribution of emergency items. Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh eceived about USD 3,500 each and Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa about USD 2,000 each. The Federation allocated CHF 60,000 to the operation from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). In co-ordination with the VNRC Headquarters, the Federation delegation made available USD 3,000 for additional emergency purchases of food, life jackets and plastic sheeting in the most affected provinces.

The Federation Head of Delegation and Delegates have now visited all of the affected provinces and are assisting the VNRC with additional needs assessments. The Red Cross Chapters in each province have been operational since the beginning of the floods -although many staff members themselves lost their homes in the floods. Besides rescue missions to save people from roof tops and emergency deliveries of food and plastic sheeting, they have also assisted the authorities in evacuating the population from lower lying areas. The disaster preparedness programme undertaken in recent years, and the development programme (assisted by five Red Cross Societies) in these provinces have paid off, the Chapter President of Quang Ngai stated.

Outstanding needs

Federation and VNRC staff in the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh are currently undertaking assessments of needs. Initial information from these teams, along with data available from the government, indicate that the Red Cross should aim at supporting a further 40,000 households with 10,000 household kits, 1,000MT of rice and the reconstruction of 500 houses.

External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media

The Vietnam Red Cross continues to sit on the national coordination committee for the relief operation. At the request of the Prime Minister's Office, they will distribute a major medical donation in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.

The Vietnam Red Cross and Federation are also coordinating a team of medical experts sent by the US government to help with the assessment of the health situation following the floods. This medical assessment will contribute to the medium to longer term rehabilitation of the health system and water and sanitation utilities within the province of Thua Thien Hue.
The UN/DMT (of which the International Federation is a member) held an emergency meeting on 8 December to review current information. The World Food Programme is co-ordinating a study into the medium to longer term vulnerability of the affected population.

Various news agencies and national media around the world have recently called on the Federation Delegation as a key source of information.

The Italian Embassy in Hanoi has offered to sponsor a concert in the Hanoi Opera House as a fund-raising event in aid of the Red Cross flood relief operation. The concert would take place during the World Bank sponsored "Consultative group Meeting" next week, bringing together donor governments, institutions, international organisations and the Government of Vietnam.

Contributions

See Annex 1 for details at http://www.ifrc.org/news/sitreps/99/329902.pdf

Conclusion

Although it is currently difficult to ascertain the extent of the extra damage and needs in the affected provinces, it is clear that some of the poorest households have been seriously affected twice within the space of 30 days. The Red Cross at the local level is working alongside the authorities to provide emergency assistance. The next phase of support to 40,000 of the most vulnerable needs to be addressed quickly and donors are urged to respond rapidly to this new situation.

Hiroshi Higashiura
Director
Asia and Pacific Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Director
Operations Funding and
Reporting Department