Ref: DHAGVA - 97/0544
Government of Vietnam appeals for International Assistance
1. The Government of Vietnam has officially issued a request for international assistance in the wake of Typhoon Linda, which hit a dozen provinces in the South of Vietnam during the night of 2 November. During a press conference held this morning in Hanoi, Vice Minister Nguyen Duy Nien of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: 'On behalf of the Government of Vietnam, we would like to appeal for assistance all over the world to help these people who are suffering so much'.
2. On 8 November 1997, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam issued an official communication to all members of the Diplomatic Corps, International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations including the following information:
Typhoon Linda, which was the strongest typhoon ever recorded in the southernmost areas of Vietnam during the last 100 years, caused huge losses. According to preliminary statistics, more than 300 people were killed, 700 others injured and over 2,000 are still missing. Damage to infrastructure, crops, rice paddy, fishing boats and trawlers, houses, schools, etc. amounts to approximately 2,300 billion dongs (about USD 200 million).
The Government of Vietnam has done its utmost to mitigate the impact of the typhoon, thanks to which more than 3,500 fishermen were rescued. It is taking all measures to provide health services to the inhabitants in the affected areas, continue rescue operations and help the people gradually normalize life and production.
However, as the losses were unexpectedly high both in terms of human lives and property, while mobilizing its limited resources, the Government of Vietnam wishes to request the sympathy and kind assistance of all Governments and peoples, International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations in this matter.
The Government and people of Vietnam take this opportunity to express their thanks to all Governments and peoples, International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations for their precious assistance they offered in the past and for their possible aid they may render in this time of difficulty.
3. A report on Typhoon Linda was prepared by the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control (CCFSC) and was made available at the press conference. A summary is provided below.
4. Typhoon Linda affected all provinces in the Southwest of Vietnam. For two days, from 2 to 3 November, there were strong rains throughout the South of Vietnam. In some places, there was as much as 100 to 150 mm of rainfall. Soc Trang received 155 mm and Can Tho 233 mm. Typhoon Linda is the first disaster of its kind in the Southern Provinces for a century. Every effort was undertaken to warn of the typhoon, but it approached land very quickly. People in the affected areas had never experienced such a typhoon and those at sea could not avoid it.
5. As of 7 November 1997, information on damage caused by the typhoon was as follows:
- 304 people killed, 708 injured and 1,937 missing
- 3,513 people rescued
- 2,326 boats sunk
- 64,516 houses collapsed and 110,869 damaged
- 1,126 schoolrooms destroyed and 3,123 damaged
- 225,990 ha of rice fields damaged and inundated
- 130,815 dykes breached.
National Response and Action Required
6. After receiving information about Typhoon Linda on 1 November, the Government of Vietnam and CCFSC instructed Ho Chi Minh City, all provinces and ministries concerned, to fight the typhoon. A working delegation led by Vice Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited the affected areas and worked with the authorities, shared grief with affected families and made budget decisions for emergency relief.
7. Much of the damage caused by the typhoon occurred at sea - to boats and fishermen from many provinces in Vietnam - not only those directly affected by the disaster. CCFSC and local authorities have carefully evaluated the damage to determine accurately the number of people killed, to locate those still missing and to carry out effectively search and rescue missions. At the same time, the Committee and province-level officials are summarizing the data to learn for future disaster mitigation.
8. Actions to be taken to mitigate the effects of Typhoon Linda include:
- Search and rescue at sea to locate and rescue missing people. It is considered vital to increase the number of people searching and to provide the means to rescue people. The Government requests neighbouring countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, to carry out search and rescue missions to help Vietnamese fishermen and ships.
- Quick repair of damaged schools, hospitals and houses to stabilize people's lives, especially in provinces such as Ca Mau, Ben Tre and Bac Lieu, distribution of medicines to prevent epidemics and action to mitigate environmental problems arising from the disaster.
- Location and salvage of sunken boats to restore people's production capacities, especially in Ca Mau and Kien Giang Provinces, repair of damaged boats.
- Agricultural and sea-product production must be restored, especially for products such as rice, fruit and trees which produce cash crops.
- Repair of transportation and hydraulic systems to facilitate production, as well as repair of breached dykes.
- Continued damage assessment, establishment of plans and policies to encourage people and develop production.
Emergency Relief Needs
9. Official reports on emergency relief needs have been issued by the People's Committees of four affected provinces: Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Soc Trang and Kien Giang. Emergency relief supplies required for the affected population in these provinces include the following items:
- Food (rice, cooking oil, salt, cooking pots, stoves, etc.)
- Clothing for children and adults
- Medicine (antibiotics, anti-diarrhoea, disinfectants, bandages, aspirin)
- Shelter (tents, mattresses, blankets, mosquito netting, buckets, etc.)
- Sanitation items (temporary toilets, chemicals against insects/rodents).
Detailed lists and costings of these relief supplies (with an estimated value of USD 12 million) are available from the Vietnam Disaster Management Unit (DMU), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hanoi (Tel. + 84 4 824 1072, Fax + 84 4 824 1795), or from DHA Geneva, on request. Most of the needed relief supplies are available locally.
10. In response to the Government appeal for international assistance, the UNDP Resident Representative in Hanoi reports that United Nations agencies are considering USD 455,000 in assistance consisting of firm pledges of USD 150,000 from UNDP, USD 50,000 from UNDHA, USD 50,000 from UNICEF, USD 5,000 from WHO, and a possible USD 200,000 contribution from WFP in food aid. FAO will be contacting their headquarters regarding possible assistance to agricultural rehabilitation.
11. The Governments of the Republic of Korea (USD 100,000) and Switzerland (USD 360,000) have already pledged support. A cash contribution of USD 40,000 has been granted from funds provided by the Government of Norway, held in reserve by DHA.
12. IFRC in Geneva informs that the Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) circulated an appeal to local and international organizations, UN agencies and embassies in Vietnam and requested the early launch of a preliminary appeal through the International Federation. IFRC delegates have arrived in Ho Chi Minh City and participate in the assessments undertaken by VNRC in the affected provinces.
13. DHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions to be used during the immediate relief phase, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations of the UN system. DHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.
14. Donors wishing to channel their contributions through DHA should transfer funds to DHA account No. CO.590.160.1 at Swiss Bank Corporation, Case Postale 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, with reference: DHA - Vietnam - Typhoon Linda.
15. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform DHA Geneva, as indicated below, of relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item.
Telephone number: + 41-22-917 12 34
In case of emergency only: Tel. + 41-22-917 20 10
Desk Officer: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack, DHA Relief Coordination Branch,
direct Tel. + 41-22-917 21 44
Press to contact: Ms. Moulin-Acevedo, direct Tel: + 41-22-917 28 56
Telex: 414242 DHA CH
Fax: + 41-22-917 00 23