New Zealand, Oxfam offer drought relief to Mekong Delta province

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A woman in Ba Tri District, Ben Tre Province receives drinking water under a New Zealand government-funded program. Photo courtesy of Oxfam A woman in Ba Tri District, Ben Tre Province receives drinking water under a New Zealand government-funded program. Photo courtesy of Oxfam

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The New Zealand Embassy in Hanoi on Thursday announced humanitarian aid worth US$50,000 to communities affected by drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.
Up to 6,000 cow and goat farmers in Binh Dai, Ba Tri, and Thanh Phu districts will receive cash grants to buy food and water supplies for their animals, which they are dependent on for their livelihoods, the embassy said in a statement.
“We recognize the serious impact that the drought and saltwater intrusion is having on communities in southern and central provinces of Vietnam," Ambassador Haike Manning said in a statement. 
“This assistance is a modest, but practical contribution to the communities we are already working with through our existing project, and is an example of New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to supporting vulnerable communities across Vietnam,” Manning said. 
The aid will be provided through an ongoing $4 million New Zealand government funded project in the province, implemented by Oxfam in Vietnam.
Oxfam is working with Ben Tre’s government to provide safe drinking water to more than 6,000 people.
The drought and saltwater intrusion has affected hundreds of thousands of families, while most of them are already living under poverty line, said Oxfam Country Director Babeth Lefur.
Vietnam is in urgent need of international aid worth $48.5 million as a crippling drought threatens to create a shortage of food and water for two million people in southern and central Vietnam, the government said Tuesday.
The country is going through its worst drought in almost a century amid intense and prolonged El Nino conditions.
An official report estimated the drought damage at $250 million, saying it would rise since the situation would last for several more months.

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