No time to brood: central Vietnam rolls up its sleeves

By Duc Hung, Ngoc Thanh   October 25, 2020 | 06:52 pm GMT+7
As floodwaters recede, central Vietnam residents have no time to lose as they clean up, repair and salvage what’s left of their belongings.
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Cam Due Commune in Cam Xuyen District, Ha Tinh is one of six communes in the central province that suffered heavy damage in the recent flooding, with over 2,000 families affected. Many houses along an inter-communal road were severely damaged.
As of Saturday, at least 130 had lost their lives to floods and landslides in the central region and 18 others were still missing, according to the nation's disaster management authorities.
Worse still, central Vietnam provinces from Nghe An to ThuaThien-Hue have been warned to expect heavy rainfall of up to 200 mm from Sunday until Monday because of storm Saudel.

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Road workers take turns to drive piles and fence off landslide hit and vulnerable areas to keep people from going there.

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A trader at a local market in Cam Due Commune removes thick mud left behind by flash floods.

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When the sun is out, Nguyen Thi Lieu, 60, brings her television, refrigerator and fan to her front yard to dry. "These things are expensive, but now I don’t have money to fix them because there are other things to worry about," she said.

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A wedding photograph is the main adornment in Lieu’s bare dwelling, which has suffered a lot of damage. She said her husband had died early and her son worked away from home. When the floodwaters came, she and her daughter-in-law moved three bags of rice to a higher area and took shelter in their neighbor's house. The remaining 500 kg of harvested rice in the house were submerged.

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Nguyen Thi Tinh, 36, in Ha Tinh’s Thach Ha District, stands in her "living room," surrounded by bags of rice and large aluminium vessels. Before the floods struck, she moved three tons of rice on to her bed. As the waters receded she has no choice but to leave the rice bags in the middle of the room in her cramped house, and wait for them to dry.

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As soon as the waters receded, Nguyen Tri Nam, 57, in Quang Tri Province’s Hai Lang District, began to dry the rice in his house. "During this flooding, the water level went as high as 1.5 meters. My family lost nearly 400 kg of rice we just harvested..." he said, adding that the rice was the family’s main source of food until another harvest next April.

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In Le Thuy Commune, Quang Binh Province, along the road leading to Kien Giang Town, dozens of motorcycle repair shopshave been working through the night for the last two days. The owner of one shop said that he and his staff are repairing nearly 50 motorbikes a day. The bikes were damaged after being submerged for several days.

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On Saturday afternoon, on the campus of the Hoa Hoa Kindergarten in Quang Binh Province, soldiers lend a hand to more than 20 teachers busy cleaning up classrooms so that the school can reopen soon. Nguyen Thi Thanh Tu, the principal, said that the school had been submerged under two meters of water and everything was covered with mud.
"It will take at least one week for the school to clean up before we can pick up students again," said Tu.

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Teachers and soldiers clean the school yard.

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Sitting in front of her house, Cuc, owner of a grocery store in Kien Giang Town, joins relatives and neighbors to clean utensils covered with mud after the floods.
"The store has too much stuff and I have to ask relatives and neighbors to help. Even after one whole day of cleaning up, the work is still not over."

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La Van Thoang, 70, who was running a shop in Kien Giang Town selling blankets, mattresses and household appliances, has suffered considerable losses in the floods. He estimates the damage at nearly VND2 billion ($86,130. It will take more than one month to resume business because a large number of goods have been covered with mud for a long time and the family needs to deal with them, he said.
"I have never seen such severe flooding in my life. Now I worry about a new storm coming."

 
 
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