11/16/2020, 15.07
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Caritas Vietnam helping storm and flood victims

by Trung Tin

More than 140 people have died, dozens are missing, with hundreds of thousands of homes damaged. The new Caritas director, Fr Joseph Ngô Sĩ Đình, OP, and his deputy, Fr Peter Nguyễn Trọng Đường, SVD, visited Vietnam’s central provinces of Vietnam on 9-11 November.


Hanoi (AsiaNews) – In recent days, people the central provinces of Vietnamhave had to face up to 13 storms, which have caused appalling floods.

As a result of the terrible weather, more than 140 people have died, dozens are missing, with hundreds of thousands of homes damaged. Many buffaloes, cows, pigs, poultry, vegetable gardens and rice fields have disappeared.

Flood-related damages to people and property over the past month have been huge. Many families have lost everything. Recovery is thus extremely important.

On average, Vietnam is hit by 10 to 15 flash floods and landslides each year, this according to the General Department for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, especially in the mountainous regions of northern and central Vietnam as well as the Highlands.

The new director of Caritas Vietnam, Fr Joseph Ngô Sĩ Đình, OP, and his deputy, Fr Peter Nguyễn Trọng Đường, SVD, visited the central provinces on 9-11 November to survey the flooded areas.

The Caritas Vietnam delegation first visited the Diocese of Huế, including Thừa Thiên-Huế and Quảng Trị province. Quảng Trị province also suffered severe damages; in particular, Cây Da Parish, a major flooded area.

Caritas Vietnam and Caritas Huế also visited families in difficult situationd and after listening to them, they provided material and spiritual support.

“Due to the war, I was seriously injured and my leg was cut off. Moving is difficult,” said Nguyễn Lưu who lives in Sơn Đông, Hương Vân Ward, in Hương Trà, a town in Thừa Thiên Huế province.

“My family planted bananas,” he explained, “but our banana field was wiped out by flooding. The local government gave us 270,000 dongs VND (about US$ 12).  Caritas of the Diocese of Huế gave us 330,000 VND (US$ 14) for the purchase of rice. What will we do the next week for a living? We do not know.”

After field inspections, Caritas Vietnamand Caritas Huế discussed ways to come up with concrete plans or projects to rebuild people’s lives and help Catholics and non-Catholics.

On the second day of their visit, the Caritas Vietnam delegation together with Bishop Paul Nguyễn Thái Hợp, of the Diocese of Hà Tĩnh, and Fr John Nguyễn Huy Tuần, director of Caritas Hà Tĩnh, brought help to some families seriously affected by flooding in Quảng Bình province.

Mgr Paul Nguyễn Thái Hợp, director of Caritas Hà Tỉnh, and aide to Caritas Vietnam, surveyed the damage in the Trầm community, Chày parish.

Father John Nguyễn Huy Tuấn, director of Caritas Hà Tĩnh, said that “here priests are very active and eager to save people from flooded areas. At the same time, we took people to a safe area and brought them food.”

Many temporary shelters were built after the flood to house 25 families from Tiên Nghĩa, a community in Liên Hòa parish, Quảng Trạch district, Quảng Bình province.

“When it began flooding, people tried to go up to the roof,” said Mr Phúc, a member of the Trung Quân Parish Pastoral Council. “The parish mobilised young people to save resident trapped in homes. They had to get into the water in order to get the people stuck inside out. "

Farming in the mainstay in the central provinces: vegetables, rice, raising livestock and poultry. Until now, their life was very difficult. The floods have wiped out all everything, making life even more difficult.

After the terrible floods, Tân Hội parish in the Diocese of Hà Tĩnh helped relocate 21 families displaced by a landslide. They stayed in the temporary shelters set up in Tuyên Hóa district, Quảng Bình province. The pastor of Tân Hội parish continues to provide food for people every day.

In addition to visiting the victims of the floods, Caritas Vietnam conducted quick investigations to see the real situation and coordinate with local diocesan Caritas to plan concrete projects to help people, be they Catholics or not.

Caritas Vietnam is always involved in social outreach and charity works to help the recovery after natural disasters, providing assistance to people to rebuild their lives, repair damaged houses, and build new homes for families who lost theirs.

This is especially important for families who live near landslides; they need to move to new and safer places. Plus, seeds, livestock, water filtering systems, and bursaries for children living in difficult circumstances are provided.

As Caritas Vietnam’s new director, Fr Joseph Ngô Sĩ Đình urges Vietnamese Catholics to help storms and floods victims. “We hope that the people most affected by these storms, be they Catholic or not, will get some relief,” Fr Đình said.

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