People practises to evacuate the disabled during disaster in Central Quảng Trị Province. — VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY— The US Government will continue to provide disaster relief grants to help Việt Nam respond to the severe drought and saltwater intrusion affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the southern provinces and Central Highlands, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced last Friday.
“On March 25, US Ambassador Ted Osius declared a disaster due to the effects of the drought in Việt Nam,” Consul General Rena Bitter said in HCM City.
She added that this status would allow the US to provide support to Việt Nam through the Việt Nam Red Cross (VNRC), which has been actively co-ordinating relief efforts.
With this assistance, VNRC will provide safe drinking water and water storage containers to those most affected and will carry out promotional activities to enhance the awareness of sanitation and hygiene.
Since the end of 2015, Việt Nam has experienced higher temperatures and below average rainfall, which has led to severe drought and saltwater intrusion, resulting in significant damage and threats to national agricultural production and people’s livelihoods.
According to a report from the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, the number of households experiencing water shortage is very high, especially in areas like Bến Tre and Trà Vinh provinces.
Moreover, many schools, health care stations, hotels and factories are experiencing water shortages.
Since 2000, USAID, through the Office of the US Foreign Disaster Assistance, has provided about US$12 million in disaster response, preparedness and risk reduction assistance in Việt Nam.
USAID programs have reached more than one million people in nearly 150 communities with disaster preparedness services.
USAID-supported disaster relief efforts are closely co-ordinated with the Government of Việt Nam’s relief efforts.— VNS