Disaster-hit provinces in Vietnam ask for rice aid for Lunar New Year

By Hoang Phuong   January 3, 2017 | 12:21 am PT
Disaster-hit provinces in Vietnam ask for rice aid for Lunar New Year
A family in Binh Dinh in a flood last December. Photo by VnExpress
12 provinces have asked the government for 14,700 tons of rice in total.

Twelve provinces recently hit by storms and floods in northern and central Vietnam have asked for rice aid from the government so that poor families do not have to spend the Lunar New Year Tet holiday in hunger.

The provinces -- Cao Bang, Ha Nam, Lao Cai, Tuyen Quang and Yen Bai in the north, and Binh Dinh, Dak Nong, Nghe An, Ninh Thuan, Quang Ngai, Quang Tri and Thanh Hoa in the central region -- have requested a total of more than 14,700 tons, according to a report from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

The ministry said some other provinces may join them to ask for rice.

In November, the government's relief program provided VND115 billion, or more than $5 million, and nearly 7,000 tons of rice to some of the 12 provinces.

Northern Vietnam was hit by several deadly typhoons in 2016 while back-to-back floods ravaged the central region.

Natural disasters caused damage worth VND18.3 trillion ($805 million) to Vietnam and left 248 dead or missing last year, according to the General Statistics Office.

The Lunar New Year holiday, also known as Tet, is the most important holiday in Vietnam which normally involves big celebrations and gatherings.

The country hands out rice every year to make sure even the poorest people at least have something to eat.

Vietnamese earned $2,200 on average in 2016, according to the General Statistics Office, which has also counted around one million people living in hunger.

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