Catholics have been visiting and giving relief aid to victims and their relatives who suffered in a rock fall in central Vietnam. Some 18 people died including 11 women. Six others were injured by rocks falling on them while they worked under massive outcrops at Nam Thanh village in Yen Thanh district of Nghe An province on April 1. More than 300 rescue workers found the last dead body on April 3. Father Peter Luu Van Thanh, who provides pastoral activities for local people, said yesterday that local Catholics visited, prayed for and helped bury dead victims. They also donated 3-5 million dong (US$142-238) each to victims’ families, he added. Father Thanh, 50, said Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh diocese, Bishop Joseph Nguyen Van Yen and other Caritas workers also visited to offer relief aid to victims and their relatives after the accident happened. The priest said Caritas in 10 northern dioceses is sending them 318 million dong. Father Thanh noted victims are farmers living in poverty and with many children. Men earn 150,000-200,000 dong a day by producing rock and women earn 100,000-120,000 dong a day by carrying rocks on trucks. More than 30 children were orphaned in the accidents, local media reported. Marie Thai Thi Sinh, whose husband was the only Catholic among the dead victims, said he was a breadwinner and left seven children, aged 1-21. Her family is among the 100 poorest families in the village. Sinh, 40, said Bishop Hop promised to give a scholarship to her eldest son who is at college and build their house. Father Thanh said local Catholics have been looking after victims’ children, carrying them to schools, cultivating their rice fields and giving them food until their harvest in May. Nghe An province provides rocks for construction work throughout the country. VT13912.1648
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