Viet Nam News
BÌNH ĐỊNH — Phạm Thị Lâm was silent as she dug up pieces of her children’s torn notebooks from layers of soggy mud in front of her house.
Her husband, Phan Văn Long, was also quiet as he moved piles of concrete, rocks and mud out of his house.
Lâm and Long, are among residents of An Xuyên 3 Hamlet, Mỹ Chánh Commune, Phú Mỹ District in Bình Định Province.
In less than two months, from early November to mid-December, the province was hit by five severe flooding five times.
Lâm and Long have lost a 924sq.m shrimp pond, three oxygen producing machines and a house built seven years ago with loans. They are yet to clear the debt on the house.
Residents of Bình Định Province can’t help sighing and wiping their tears when someone talks about preparations for Tết (Lunar New Year), which is less than a month away.
In An Xuyên 3 hamlet, even senior residents among the 170 households had not imagined the magnitude of the flood that hit them on the night of December 17, the latest one in a series of five.
Hamlet chief Lê Minh Sơn said ten houses were completely ruined. One house was swept away.
The floods, with the water levels rising up to three to four metres, isolated Xuyên Cỏ village in the hamlet into nine separate areas. Farmers lost 50ha of 100ha of aquatic products they’d prepared for Tết. The total economic loss is estimated at VNĐ2 billion (US$89,000).
In the province’s Nhơn Phúc Commune, An Nhơn Town, when the floods receded, residents could do nothing but stare at bare land lots where their houses once stood.
Đào Thanh Phước, a resident whose house was damaged, recalled the moment when waters from the Kôn River, rushed in fast to cover his whole house.
“My wife, two children, ten and eleven years old, and I climbed to the top floor screaming in terror. We escaped at the very last moment,” Phước said.
Hồ Quốc Dũng, Chairman of the Bình Định People’s Committee, said the flooding left 39 dead, ten injured, inundated more than 700 houses and sank 22 fishing boats.
Nearly 130km of roads were damaged and 86.6km of dykes hit by landslides.
Rice production, the main income earner for residents, was also affected badly, with more than 2,000ha of fields damaged. About 17,300ha of the winter-spring crop that had just been cultivated will have to be sown again.
“These are not the final numbers. We are still counting the damage,” Dũng said.
The first priority of the province is to take care of residents’ lives and quickly repair irrigation infrastructure, and restore traffic and agriculture production, he said.
The Government has decided to support farmers with money to buy seeds.
“The recovery will be a long one, up to five years or even ten years. Projects that are not essential must be canceled or delayed,” Dũng said.
Chairman of Phú Mỹ District’s People’s Committee Nguyễn Văn Dũng told the Lao Động (Labour) newspaper: “I just signed a decision to hand over land without collecting money to eight households who lost their houses at Xuyên Cỏ village. They will reside in An Xuyên 1 hamlet, hundreds of metres away from their old living area.
“Each household received VNĐ100 million ($4,500) from the provincial authorities.
“The time is limited. I am afraid that it is will be well after Tết that the flood victims in An Xuyên 3 are able to recover their homes.” — VNS