Hundreds risk life in Quang Ninh floods to fish out floating charcoal

By Dung Minh, Thanh Nien News

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A man carrying a basket of charcoal on his head. Photos: Ngoc Thang A man carrying a basket of charcoal on his head. Photos: Ngoc Thang


Hundreds of people in Quang Ninh are risking their lives in swift-flowing floods -- that have claimed at least 17 lives -- to fish out charcoal swept away by the waters.
Mostly women farmers, they are gathered at the heads of the two main streams in Cam Pha town, and use bamboo baskets to fish out the charcoal, which is mixed with mud and debris.
The charcoal is being swept from factory yards.
A full basket weights around 20 kilograms while a ton is likely to fetch VND700,000-1 million (US$35-50).
A person doing this for a few hours can collect 400 to 500 kilograms, meaning they can earn several times more than their normal wage.
A lingering low-pressure area has triggered floods, landslides and rough seas in northern Vietnam since last week, killing at least 17 people in Quang Ninh and sinking two fishing boats near Ha Long Bay.
At least 1,500 tourists have been stranded on Co To Island since boats have been banned from going out into the sea since July 26.
More than 3,500 people have been evacuated to safety in Quang Ninh’s worst ever floods, which have inundated some areas in up to 4m of water.
Thousands of soldiers have been mobilized to help people in flooded and landslide-hit areas.
Nearly 3,000 houses were flooded, with total losses estimated at VND1 trillion (US$46 million).
Thousands of cubic meters of charcoal are reportedly swept away in the floods in Cam Pha town, Quang Ninh province. Photos: Ngoc Thang
Locals gather charcoal from flood waters

Their working tools are nothing but their hands and a bamboo basket
Charcoal mixed with mud and debris
 Each basket of charcoal like this weighs around 20 kilograms.
Many risk their lives in heavy rains and floods.
 Charcoal gathered at a high spot near a road...

... or just next to their working spot.

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