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Good news amid the destruction in Vietnam

The Save the Children Vietnam team will be distributing household kits today to some of the people hardest hit by the cyclone. The kits, containing blankets, mosquito nets, pots and pans and other vital supplies will provide urgently-needed help to affected children and their families.

Typhoon Ketsana hit Vietnam on Tuesday (29th September). Our country director, Huy, immediately concluded that we had to do a big response. The team in Vietnam got ready straight away. On Wednesday we were asked to help lead the NGO-Government-UN co-ordination for key areas and issues, including leading joint assessment teams in some of the hardest hit places. Our emergency manager flew into Vietnam on Thursday. And we are distributing key supplies on Friday, today.

There is a lot of help needed. A quarter of a million Vietnamese people have been displaced by this disaster. The rains in some places are still coming down hard, some areas remain inaccessible and many communities are still marooned. On top of all this, super storm Parma may hit soon. It is right in this context that we are planning what is for the country an unprecedented Save the Children response, seeking to raise at least $5 million USD for an initial six months, and to reach at least 20% of the affected. We need to do this at the same time as delivering the support needed to children just as affected in the Philippines, Indonesia and the Pacific islands. It’s a huge challenge that will need all of us to stretch ourselves but the efforts and achievements so far can give us confidence in our collective ability to achieve it. The EVERY ONE campaign has reminded us of our commitment to all children everywhere, and we have lived up to that vision this week.

One more piece of good news. When the disaster first struck, Huy, our country director, lost contact with his nephews who live in the affected area. He recently managed to speak with them and they say they are coping. The ground floor of where they live is completed flooded, so they are living on the floor above. They described seeing twelve feet of water. But they are in good spirits, and proud of their uncle for all the important work he’s doing.

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