Emergency appeal launched after Typhoon Wutip tears through communities in Viet Nam

Publié: 7 octobre 2013 14:52 CET

By Madeline Wilson and Ly Nguyen, IFRC

A week has passed since Typhoon Wutip tore through Vo Si Phuc’s village in Quang Binh province, central Viet Nam. Phuc and his family were lucky to escape with their lives when they fled from their house, only minutes before it collapsed in the raging winds and floodwaters. Now there is nothing left of their home but a pile of rubble.

Phuc’s 15-year-old son is helping him to clear the debris and salvage their possessions. He is unable to return to school as the roof of the school building was damaged and his notebooks are still soaked. Unsure when they will be able to afford to rebuild their house, Phuc and his family have been totally reliant upon the goodwill of their neighbours for a place to stay.

Typhoon Wutip made landfall in Central Viet Nam on the evening of 30 September as a category 1 typhoon, with sustained winds of 117 kph. Wutip is regarded as the strongest storm to hit central Viet Nam since Typhoon Xangsane in 2006. The damage caused to public infrastructure and private property has been significant, particularly in Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and Ha Tinh provinces. Over 219,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed, trees uprooted, power lines broken, crops damaged and livestock killed.

“Vietnam Red Cross Society staff on the ground are reporting that close to 80,000 families have had to stay with friends or relatives, while others are sheltering under tarpaulins in their damaged homes,” says Michael Annear, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) representative in Viet Nam. “For many people, education is of great concern. The operation of schools in the affected area has been disrupted as over 50 per cent are damaged.”

The IFRC has launched a preliminary emergency appeal for 2,114,739 Swiss Francs (USD 2,345,000, 1,724,000 Euros) to help the National Society deliver emergency assistance to 37,500 people following the widespread destruction caused by the storm.

“This appeal aims to help to those who have been worst affected. In a few hours the typhoon destroyed assets which took most people a lifetime to build up – many are struggling to find ways to rebuild their homes. It will take months if not years for them to get back on their feet,” says Annear.

Prices of essential commodities and construction materials on the local market have shot up since the disaster; one cup of rice has increased from VND 3,000 to VND 4,000 and the price of bricks has increased from VND 4,500 to VND 6,000 per brick. Local people are reporting that the cost of repairing a home has doubled.

Phuc’s family face a difficult road ahead. His wife Nguyen Thi Tam, hasn’t been able to reopen her small food shop, and she has no idea when she will be back in business. Neither do they know how or when they will repair their collapsed home. Phuc’s village is no stranger to typhoons which regularly track across central Viet Nam. “The damage in previous years was insignificant, but now there’s nothing left to lose,” he says wistfully.

The Vietnam Red Cross Society has provided Phuc’s family with a cash grant of 1 million VND as well as a household kit which includes two blankets, a mosquito net, a set of pots and pans and a small bucket. The relief and recovery operation includes the provision of cash grants combined with the distribution of essential household items.

Ensuring families have access to clean water together with hygiene promotion are vital components in the Red Cross response, since it will help reduce the risk of water- and sanitation-related diseases for at least 5,000 households. Livelihoods support will be given to families who have lost their means of income and shelter materials to those who need help in rebuilding their homes.

Society volunteers played an important role in early warning, helping to evacuate 100,000 people ahead of the typhoon making landfall. Disaster response teams were deployed to the affected provinces the day the typhoon struck, and staff and volunteers are currently distributing relief supplies and carrying out assessments to determine the full extent of the typhoons impact and the needs of affected families.