Vietnamese donate blood, money after deadly Moscow concert hall attack

By Duc Trung   March 25, 2024 | 02:12 am PT
Vietnamese donate blood, money after deadly Moscow concert hall attack
A woman cries at a memorial site for the victims of the Crocus City Hall attack in Moscow, March 2024. Photo by AFP
The deadly terrorism attack on Moscow's Crocus City Hall that resulted in over 100 deaths on Friday has spurred several Vietnamese to spend hours in the cold to donate money and blood to the victims.

A group of armed people on a minivan invaded the concert hall in Krasnogorsk last Friday night, firing at people and setting the hall on fire. The hall's roof eventually collapsed and buried several victims. Russian authorities later said at least 133 people have been killed, while over 100 have been sent to hospitals.

Blood drive stations, which are normally not operational during the weekends, all went active amid the emergency on Saturday morning. Several people spent hours outside hospitals, as temperatures fell below 5 degrees Celsius, to wait for their turn to get their blood tested and donated. Many among them were Vietnamese.

Nguyen Dinh Bao, 31, a doctor in Moscow, decided to donate 450 ml of blood at the Lyubersu Hospital following news of the terrorist attack. He said the line was long, requiring people to wait for 2-3 hours at the very least.

"The stations have many volunteers giving food and warm tea to blood donors. It's only regrettable that many Vietnamese were saddened for Russians and wanted to give blood, but couldn't as they could not meet the necessary requirements," said Bao, who is also head of the medical committee of the Vietnamese student community in Russia.

About 30 km away from the concert hall, Thuy, 30, and her daughter stood five hours under the freezing rain to wait and give their blood. But they were rejected as they were too light-weighted.

"I begged them to let me donate my blood, but they didn't allow me to. They however were moved and appreciated the good intentions of us Vietnamese," she said.

Bao said the requirements for someone to donate their blood include having Russian residency, being weighed over 50 kg, having no infectious diseases and not drinking two days prior to the donation, among others.

Besides blood donation, dozens of Vietnamese also sent money to the support funds for victims, run by the Sberbank bank.

"I would like to express my condolence to the families of victims, and hope that the injured would recover quickly," said Xuyen, who donated US$50.

Medical authorities in Moscow said around 3,000 people donated blood on Saturday, with around 1,000 liters of blood given.

The attack on Friday was the deadliest ever seen in Russia in nearly two decades. The United Nations and several other countries, including Vietnam, have condemned the attack.

"I could only describe what happened with one word: Fear! Humans don’t bring others’ lives out to play like that," said Binh, 28, the owner of a Vietnamese food shop in Moscow.

Before the attack happened, Binh had been planning to take the subway home. But upon hearing the news, he decided to switch to taxi.

"Taxi fares were tripled compared to usual days due to heightened demands," Binh said.

That night, Bao was working at the Sechenov Moscow Medical University Hospital. He was shocked when his loved ones informed him of the attack and told him to come home early. The next morning, he saw authorities tightening security and deploying multiple checkpoints. Several people were scared to go out and avoided public spaces.

All events with large gatherings in Moscow were suspended, with students studying online instead. Bao's family also planned to avoid crowded places and order food home.

Previously in 2000 and 2010, Moscow also saw bombing attacks aiming at the city’s subway and airport systems. Such attacks however seemingly vanished in recent years, partly thanks to Russia’s anti-insurrectionist campaigns.

Experts said the Crocus City Hall might have been targeted as it’s a place with large gatherings and has fewer security measures than other places in downtown Moscow.

Russian authorities have arrested 11 people related to the attack, including four who were directly involved. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for improved security and anti-terrorist measures in Moscow and other regions of the country.

Many Vietnamese in Moscow, however, still put high faith in the security measures in place.

Phan Manh Hung, 56, the owner of a sporting clothing shop in Moscow, said he believes in Moscow’s security measures.

"Vietnamese merchants are working normally. Many have switched to online sales, so they were not much impacted by the attack," he said.

go to top