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Vietnamese Catholics help farmers plow fields

Many unable to till land as severe winter kills buffaloes

Vietnamese Catholics help farmers plow fields
A farmer looking after a young buffalo reporter, Hue City

January 17, 2011

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Catholics in the central Vietnam Thua Thien-Hue province are helping farmers of other faith plow their lands free of charge. “I plowed 13,000 square meters of farmland for three non-Catholic farmers whose buffaloes died of cold weather,” said Peter Truong Van Sung, a farmer from Son Thuy Church. Thirty buffaloes and bulls have died due to the cold weather in the province’s A Luoi district after the temperature fell to 10-13 degrees Celsius after New Year, local media reported on Jan. 15. Sung said he helped plow the farmlands for free in a spirit of friendship among villagers. On average he earns 120,000 dong (US$6) from plowing 1,500 square meters of land using his two buffaloes. Therefore, buffaloes and bulls are valuable possessions for local villagers, he said. I have to light a fire to give them heat and cover their stable at night to protect them from the cold, he added. Ho Van Luu, a farmer, said he is grateful to Catholics for their help. Luu, 65, said he will have difficulty supporting his family as the buffalo died and he has no one to plow the field to grow crops. “I used to earn 8-12 million dong a year from using the buffalo to plow other people’s lands,” said the father of five. According to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting data, as of Jan. 15, many northern and central provinces in Vietnam facing cold weather have lost altogether 9,248 buffaloes and bulls. Local Religious from Hue City have been providing blankets, clothes, rice, instant noodles, money and medicine to help local villagers survive the cold weather over the past 30 years. Related report Church steps up aid to Vietnam flood victims   VT12881.1637
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