Ethnic minorities welcome flood relief from VnExpress Hope Foundation

By Phan Duong   November 4, 2020 | 08:00 pm GMT+7
When historic floods hit the central region last month, Ho Van Sut's pregnant mother was forced to give birth prematurely.

The day Sut's mother entered labor, the bridge connecting their village to A Bung Commune of Dkrong District had already been swept away by flooding two days prior. This remote mountainous district of central Quang Tri Province is home to Bru and Pa Co ethnic communities.

Left isolated, Sut’s father had no other options but to act as midwife, just as he had done with Sut, now a teenager, and his older sister.

Birthed prematurely without proper medical care, Sut’s newborn sibling died two days later. His mother, having lost a significant amount of blood and suffering several chronic diseases, grew weaker by the minute. Besides, Sut’s family was steadily running out of rice, their only available food source left in the house. For days, they had survived on rice porridge to save on rations.

Only a week after the birth was Sut’s mother finally taken to hospital after a temporary bridge was established linking the village with the outside world.

With their farm destroyed by floods and reliant on aid, Sut’s family had little more than VND500,000 ($21.53) left, having to borrow money to cover the hospital expenses.

Flooding and storms lasting weeks have seriously impacted Bru and Pa Co ethnic communities across A Bung and A Ngo communes.

Le Quang Thach, chairman of A Bung, said local residents had lost all their crops to Storm Noul in September, followed by storms Saudel and Molave in October along with severe flooding lasting from October 7 to 15. Flash floods also destroyed roads and isolated four villages for nearly a week.

Receiving a gift package from VnExpress readers via its Hope Foundation, including food, blanket, milk, school supplies and VND1.5 million in cash, Sut said: "My father will bring part of this to the hospital for my mother and sister." His sister is currently pregnant and staying at the hospital to look after their mother.

Ho Van Sut. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao

Ho Van Sut in flood-hit Quang Tri Province, central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.

Sut’s situation is no different compared to other Pa Co and Bru families in the two communes of Dkrong District.

On Monday morning, Can Lu left her house at five in the morning for A Bung Commune at 8:30 a.m. to collect Hope Foundation relief aid.

She had to cross two streams and many sections where traffic infrastructure had been damaged by flash floods. Having collected the aid, Lu immediately opened a pack of instant rice porridge to eat.

Lu’s husband passed away seven years ago. Her seven daughters now have their own families and live far away. Her only son lives nearby, however. At 70, Lu still works on the farm to earn a living. But the floods had cost her one hectare (2.5 acres) of rice along with cassava, banana and sugarcane crops.

"All my crops have been destroyed," she lamented.

A Ngo Village of the eponymous commune in Dkrong District was also isolated due to flash flooding. Villager Ho Thi Sao, pregnant with her fourth kid, recalled how her family had had to stay at their neighbor’s for three days and nights after their house got swamped.

Sao said her family had no TV and had no clue of the approaching storms and floods, leaving them no time to prepare food or evacuate. "We've only survived thanks to flood relief," she said.

Sao and her husband earn their living from a crop of cassava, swept away in the floods. However, even before the storm, life had seldom been easy for the family of five.

Hoa's gift package included instant rice porridge, canned meat, and fresh milk, treats her three children had never tried before.

Locals in A Bung Commune of Dkrong District in Quang Tri stay in line to receive gifts transffered by the Hope Foundation. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao

Locals in A Bung Commune of Dkrong District in Quang Tri receive their Hope Foundation aid. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.

On Monday, 700 aid packages were distributed to ethnic communities across Dkrong District. Between Monday and Wednesday, more were handed to over 2,000 families in Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces along the central strip.

VnExpress has been active in improving education and infrastructure in disadvantaged areas through its Hope Foundation. The foundation helps disadvantaged groups in various ways to create a driving force for growth, establishing more and more connections to make change happen.

The foundation has initiated a campaign to bring relief aid to communities hit by floods and landslides in central Vietnam. Hope Foundation is inviting all readers and well-wishers to contribute to this effort. For more information regarding donation methods, kindly refer to this link.

 
 
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