Deadly typhoon that struck Vietnam among world’s most neglected crises of 2017

By Vi Vu   January 22, 2018 | 11:14 pm PT
Deadly typhoon that struck Vietnam among world’s most neglected crises of 2017
People remove debris on a road as Storm Doksuri hits Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam on September 15, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Kham
70 million people were trapped in the 10 least covered disasters of 2017, from hunger in North Korea to flooding in Peru, says CARE.

Typhoon Doksuri made landfall in central Vietnam in mid-September, causing multiple deaths and leaving around 1.5 million people without power.

Barely heard of it? Possibly because it did not get widespread media coverage.

The typhoon that caused damage amounting to more than VND16 trillion ($704.6 million) in Vietnam has been named one of the 10 most neglected humanitarian crises of 2017.

“Suffering in Silence,” published by CARE International on Monday, said that 2017 was marked by scores of humanitarian crises, but fewer reports came from places that are not popular tourist destinations, considered a low priority for global security or simply too hard to reach.

The Geneva-based humanitarian agency said it chose countries in which at least one million people were affected by natural or man-made disasters and came up with a list of 40 crises which were then ranked by the size of media coverage, in English, German and French given their broad reach.

It analyzed more than 1.2 million online articles from January 1 to December 22, 2017, using Meltwater media monitoring services.

Typhoon Doksuri in Vietnam was mentioned in 4,255 media articles and ranked the world’s seventh most under-reported crisis of the year.

The storm was the 10th to affect Vietnam last year. Carrying winds of over 130kph (80mph), it was forecast to be the most powerful storm to hit the country in a decade, and thus triggered mass evacuations from the storm-prone central region.

The storm carved a destructive path through seven provinces, killing at least 11 people, according to an initial report from Vietnam’s General Statistics Office. An updated report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as cited by CARE, said that 14 people had died, four were missing and 112 had been injured.

About 1.5 million people were left without power for days while hundreds of houses were destroyed and hundreds of thousands were left badly damaged.

Official statistics showed that 80,300 hectares of rice fields and other crops were damaged.

According to CARE, the deadly typhoon did not receive due attention because it came in the shadows of many others.

“Vietnam is one of the most hazard-prone countries in Asia and the Pacific,” it said.

According to the World Bank, about 70 percent of the country’s population is exposed to risks such as typhoons, floods, droughts, storm surges, salt water intrusion, landslides, forest fires and occasional earthquakes, the risks which have been further exacerbated by global climate change and fossil fuel emissions.

Last year, Doksuri was just one of 16 tropical storms to hit the country, a record number besides a long list of floods, which killed 389 people in total and caused combined damage of more than VND60 trillion ($2.6 billion).

The other most neglected crises, in order, were: oppression and hunger in North Korea, drought and repression in Eritrea, persecution and violence in Burundi, 13 years of war and hunger in Sudan, displacement in Congo, aid dependency and malnutrition in Mali, conflict, hunger and displacement in Lake Chad Basin Region, violent clashes in the Central African Republic, and the worst flooding in decades in Peru.

According to CARE, 70 million people were affected in these crises, and as they have fallen off the media radar, they have received little attention from aid workers or donors.

Six of the 10 most under-reported crises on the list also appear in a United Nations’ report of the most underfunded emergencies in 2017.

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