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Vietnam Church extends urgent aid to flood victims

Thousands badly affected by flash floods and landslides caused by a tropical depression
Tran Van Bon and his wife in their boat in front of their flooded house in Quang Dien district of Thua Thien Hue province on Oct. 17

Tran Van Bon and his wife in their boat in front of their flooded house in Quang Dien district of Thua Thien Hue province on Oct. 17. (Photo: UCA News)

Published: October 18, 2022 05:18 AM GMT
Updated: October 18, 2022 06:06 AM GMT

Catholics in central Vietnam have rushed to provide relief supplies for thousands of people badly affected by severe floods.

A tropical depression caused torrential downpours triggering flash floods and landslides in five central provinces and municipalities, especially in Da Nang, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Binh on Oct. 14-16.

The floods reportedly killed at least 10 people, damaged thousands of vehicles and inundated 25,000 houses. Over 14,000 people were evacuated.

Anna Tran Thi Dao, a mother of two from Da Nang, said they have been staying at a local church since their house was covered in mud and floodwater.

“We cannot return home until we clean the house,” Dao, 56, said, adding that a group of local Catholics would help them with the cleaning.

Dao, who sells food at home for a living, said the floods wiped out all her furniture and damaged her motorbike, TV set, fridge and fans.

"They had nothing to eat for days"

Tran Van Bon from Quang Dien district in neighboring Thua Thien Hue province said: “We ate only rice and drank rainwater for two days as our house was inundated with 1.2 meters deep floodwater.” His five-member family had to use clothing as fuel to cook on their boat.

The 32-year-old fisherman, who catches fish in the Bo river for a living, said the floods which hit his village killed his three pigs and destroyed his 400-meter fishing net.

Bon said most of the victims are farmers and fishermen from low-lying, riverside and urban areas.

Father Dominic Tran Ba Kha, pastor of Sia parish, said he and four lay volunteers used boats to distribute instant noodles and bottled water to local people who lost all their belongings or had much of them damaged.

Father Kha, 39, said church facilities and roads were still affected badly by floodwater and a power outage had hit the area. Many people have sought shelter on narrow mezzanines under their houses’ roofs and are in need of help.

“Followers from other faiths were delighted to receive food and drinking water from us as they had nothing to eat for days,” the priest said.

"“We are deeply concerned about the safety of those who had their houses buried by landslides"

Paul Tran Dinh Phong, a member of the parish council in Thuan Nhan parish in Hai Lang district, said Catholic volunteers used motor boats to move many people to the local church for safety. They also gave first aid to a pregnant woman about to give birth and a patient who suffered a heart attack and took them to a local hospital in the nick of time.

Father Anthony Nguyen Ngoc Ha, director of Caritas in Hue archdiocese, said Caritas workers and religious quickly responded to the disaster by providing food, clothes and blankets for flood victims.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of those who had their houses buried by landslides in mountainous districts in Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces. They cannot return to their home now,” Father Ha said. 

The priest, who used a boat to visit people in communes badly affected by the disaster on Oct. 16, said Caritas plans to help some 200 households rebuild and repair their houses destroyed and damaged by the floods.

The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting reported that another storm, Tropical Storm Nesat, which was strengthening into a typhoon, would make landfall in Vietnam on Oct 19 or 20. The storm will be the sixth to hit Vietnam this year.

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