More than a number – families lives turn upside down
Our staff are coming back to Hanoi office from the affected communities in central Vietnam with stories and photos that are really helping me to understand the challenges families are facing at the moment – it prevents it all becoming a bit academic and statistical in my mind as you are dealing with such big numbers. In one area we are working, flood waters reached 15m, and when they receded they left great swaths of thick mud, caking everything in its path. Schools, clinics, homes have been inundated with it – furniture, equipment, toys, books – so much is ruined.
These communities are already so poor – they have little money or ways in which to support themselves through this crisis. We’re acting to meet their immediate needs, as well as make sure we are helping them to recover and not end up poorer than they already were. Some families are having to take out large loans to support themselves and start rebuilding their lives – but their ability to pay them off will be poor as they’ve lost their means of earning a living. This is a terribly crippling situation for a family to be in.
The bad news is that funding is incredibly limited from our institutional donors – it feels frustrating when you hear the extent of the need and stories of families like Ho Van Phin, his wife Ho Thi Lom and their four children, Ho Thi Hoa (10), Ho Thi Hoi (8), Ho Van Hup (5) and Ho Thi Hich (3).They’ve lost everything – their house and all their belongings were literally washed away by the flood.
We’ve been able to give them a household kit containing some essential items (above), but they’ll need much more assistance over the coming months. I’m so pleased to hear about the Disasters Emergencies Committee appeal for the Asian crises – this is fantastic news and means we can do so much, and soon. A big, big, big thank you to anyway who has donated – it’s not a cliché to say that your support makes a difference – it really is life-changing.