Father Peter Nguyen Vu of Doc So Parish offers instant noodles to flood victims at Do So Church on Oct. 10 in Thua Thien Hue province. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhue.net)
Caritas in Vietnam is consoling those who have suffered the loss of relatives, properties and homes in flooding in central provinces.
On Oct. 12, Nguyen Dac Minh saw his pregnant wife washed away in floodwater while they were on the way for her to give birth at a hospital in Thua Thien Hue province’s Phong Dien district. The hospital is only 2 kilometers from their home.
Minh had asked a neighbor to use a small boat to carry her to a road where a taxi was waiting to take them to the hospital. The boat overturned in rough water when it was near the destination. Rescue workers found her body later that day. She left two children aged 10 and 12.
A young couple in Quang Nam province drowned while they were on their way home from a wedding party on Oct. 10. Their bodies were found the following day. Their only daughter is two years old.
Vietnam Disaster Management Authority reported that strong winds, heavy rains and flooding, which started to hit 10 central provinces on Oct. 7, had killed 28 people and left 12 missing. Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated to high ground.
The authority said over 131,500 houses were destroyed or submerged by floodwater, 8,000 hectares of crops and fishing farms were damaged and 156,000 cattle and poultry were dead.
People from the provinces of Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue have suffered flooding three times since mid-September.
Volunteers from some parishes use boats to visit and provide food for people isolated by floods. They also take elderly people and children to church facilities to avoid floodwater.
Authorities in the provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam asked the central government to supply emergency aid — rice, instant noodles, medicine and health equipment — to local victims.
The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting expects the situation to worsen when another tropical storm, named Nangka, brings a new round of torrential rain in the area this week. The new storm will be the seventh to hit the Southeast Asian country this year.
Bishop Thomas Vu Dinh Hieu, head of Caritas Vietnam, and Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam, have called on Vietnamese Catholics around the world to pray and send handsome donations to disaster victims, helping them to overcome the havoc.
“In the spirit of solidarity, we would like to share all your losses and pray to God of Mercy to receive the dead and console those who lost their beloved relatives,” the prelates said in an open message issued on Oct. 12.