Red Cross pleads for international support to assist flood survivors
  • | | October 19, 2010 05:57 PM

With large parts of central Vietnam still battling the after-effects of flooding, which has killed dozens of people and affected half a million residents, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is launching an emergency appeal for 1,034,754 Swiss francs (1.08 million US dollars or 772,216 euro) to assist survivors of the floods.

The torrential rains began on October 1 and continued for several days, causing rivers to burst their banks and dams to overflow. The huge volume of water, which quickly inundated five provinces, is being described by some experts as the worst flooding in 20 years. More than 60 people were killed, with another 41 confirmed dead and 25 missing in fresh flooding from October 14-18.

“The flood waters have now receded but urgent help is still needed by many, who have lost homes, crops or livestock. Certain remote areas have been particularly badly affected and thanks to problems with access are under especial stress,“ said Pascal Bourcher, Operations Manager of the IFRC in Viet Nam. Much important infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, has also been damaged.

Local Vietnam Red Cross volunteers and staff evacuated people prior to the floods and helped with search and rescue efforts and have distributed family kits containing everyday items to 5,200 households, along with small emergency cash grants to those most in need.

Funding is needed to continue to provide relief to over 28,000 households in the most affected areas.

Two provinces, Quang Binh and Ha Tinh, are the worst hit and relief efforts have been focused there. The Spanish Red Cross participated in a Joint Assessment Team field trip to Ha Tinh province, which also included Oxfam, Care, PACCOM - the People’s Aid Coordination Committee, while the Viet Nam Red Cross participated in a JAT trip to Quang Binh, where the situation is judged to be most serious.

"We have made maximum effort to raise as much money as we can domestically and we have so far helped some 12,000 affected families, but the needs are great and people\'s ability to give is limited, so we do very much need support from international donors," said Dr Tram Ngoc Tang, President of the VNRC.

Concern about the situation has been sharpened by fears that Super Typhoon Megi, which is currently bringing ferocious winds and torrential rain to the Philippines, might affect Viet Nam later this week.

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