Int'l Red Cross calls for southern Vietnam flood relief

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A Vietnam Red Cross photo shows a girl in Vietnam''s Mekong Delta standing in a flooded yard. The decade's worst flood occurred in the delta this month, with children comprising the highest number of fatalities


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is appealing to the international community for nearly US$1.23 billion to assist victims of Vietnam's Mekong Delta floods.


Around 42,000 people from 10,000 families will be supported with cash and relief items, such as household kits and tarpaulins, safe water and hygiene promotion, emergency health, permanent shelter and livelihood support, IFRC said in a press release on November 8.


The emergency appeal will help Vietnam Red Cross assist the victims. The operation will be completed by the end of October 2012.


Southern Vietnam witnesses seasonal floods every September. But this year, flood waters reached the decade-record-high in early November, killing 85 people, most of them children. The flooding also caused an estimated $190 million in property damage.


Government figures show that nearly 600,000 people have been affected in seven provinces by flooding. More than 125,000 houses were inundated, and more than 100 hectares of rice paddies were lost in this year's flood.


According to the Mekong River Commission forecast, the floodwater alert levels will remain at least until mid-November.


Conditions are expected to be unpleasant for at least another couple of months, as many fields and aquaculture farms are still under water.


Doan Van Thai, vice president and secretary general of Vietnam Red Cross, said the agency has distributed more than 3,000 household kits, along with 3 million water purification tablets and more than VND1 billion (around $50,000) in cash support.



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"We have been doing a lot, but the needs are severe, and we need this assistance to extend our support and reach out to people who have been so seriously affected," Thai said in a press release.


Bhupinder Tomar, Vietnam representative for IFRC, said, "The most vulnerable are the families who are both poor and landless "¦ and survive on daily wages by offering their labor or fishing locally."


Tomar said 1,500 of these families will receive cash grants for boats and fishing nets.


Homes also will be built for 200 families who lost their houses to the floods, while 10,000 families will receive information about health and disease risks.

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