Caritas workers offer money to storm victims Tran Huu and his wife in Quang Dien district of Thuan Thien Hue province on Sept. 26. (Photo: UCA News)
Caritas workers in central Vietnam have consoled and offered financial support to hundreds of people who had their properties damaged by a storm.
Tropical Storm Noul swept a swath of coastline stretching from Quang Binh province to Da Nang on Sept. 18. The violent storm claimed six lives and injured 112, damaged over 22,000 houses and public facilities, and battered 4,000 hectares of crops and fishing farms.
Many church facilities in worst-hit Thua Thien Hue province were damaged.
Father Anthony Nguyen Ngoc Ha, head of Caritas in Hue Archdiocese, said parish priests visited and consoled disaster victims regardless of their background.
Caritas provided financial support for 268 families who could not afford to repair their shelters. They are from the districts of Huong Tra, Phong Dien and Quang Dien, where they live in shanty houses, work on farms and forests and catch fish in rivers for a living.
“Many people have lived in houses of some 40 square meters for three generations for the past 60 years,” Father Ha said, adding that they had to live in houses without roofs for one week after the disaster because they had no money.
“It is urgent to help them to have safe shelters because many storms and floods are expected to hit the area in October and November.”
He said Caritas offered families 2-5 million dong (US$87-216) each. Caritas Vietnam, local Jesuits and benefactors covered the total cost of 600 million dong.
On Sept. 26, Jesuit Father Truong Van Phuc, who is in charge of Vietnamese Jesuits’ charitable activities, and other Caritas workers gave money to 12 families from Quang Thanh commune who were severely battered by the storm.
Tran Huu, a 67-year-old Buddhist who had his house’s roof blown away in the storm, said he was grateful to Catholics who had cleaned his house and provided him with 3 million dong to mend his home. The ailing man sells lottery tickets for a living while his wife grows vegetables.
Anna Nguyen Thi Phep from Kim Doi Parish said Father Phuc offered her 5 million dong to buy iron sheets to roof her 30-square-meter house. Her husband died of lung cancer last month.
Many sisters from Hue-based Daughters of Mary of Immaculate Conception congregation offered free health checks, medicines, rice and instant noodles to over 500 patients from storm-hit areas. Many elderly people suffer heart problems, while children and women have coughs and flu.
Paul Phan Van Bong, head of the climate change committee based at Duong Son Parish, said volunteers had called on people before the storm to protect their properties and brought old people and children into the local church for their safety.
“They were kept safe during the storm but their houses were damaged,” Bong said.
Vietnam has been struck by five storms this year.