Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — An image of a soldier sitting on the side of a road, hurriedly having a pack of instant noodles before resuming his task of taking rice and other basic necessities to residents in flood-hit areas has gone viral in recent days.
The picture, taken in the northern province of Yên Bái on August 9, was called photo of the day by many netizens moved by the heroism of those working to relieve the hardships faced by flood victims, especially in remote areas.
Torrential rains, floods and landslides have ravaged northern localities since early this month, killing at least 35 people in mountainous provinces, severely disrupting daily life and inflicting damage estimated at hundreds of billions of đồng.
Đinh Văn Hải, 23, a solider from the Sơn La Military Command, said he walked about 12km daily, carrying 25kg rice bags to give to local residents.
“When I go through muddy places where houses, shops, and gardens of local residents once stood, I can really feel the disastrous impacts of the floods,” he said.
His colleague, Nguyễn Minh Đông, 22, said “We start our jobs early in the morning and stop only when it is so dark that we cannot see anything.”
On August 11, 220 soldiers of the 2nd Military Region’s Division 316 were dispatched to evacuate residents from Phình Hồ Village in Yên Bái Province to a safe place to avoid landslides.
The soldiers built two wooden shelters in one day for the evacuated residents.
When Sơn La Province’s Nặm Păm Commune was isolated by floods on August 2, the provincial Military Command immediately sent 95 soldiers to look for missing people and carry food as well as other basic necessities. The soldiers had to walk several kilometres to get to two remote villages of Pá Piệng and Huổi Sói.
Lường Văn Dom, a resident of the commune said “The floods swept away everything, including our houses, animals and property.
“Nothing’s left,” he said.
With the residents totally lost, the soldiers carried food and drink and built temporary houses for them to live, he said.
Lường Văn Sơn said his house’s roof was blown away, and he was very worried about fixing it when the soldiers helped him.
Hoàng Thế Anh, deputy head of Mường La District’s Military Committee, said although the soldiers were very tired after walking all day for many days, they continued to work hard to help residents resume their daily life as soon as possible.
And it was not just soldiers who pitched in to help.
Cầm Hoài My, who owns a restaurant in Sơn La Province’s Ít Ong Town, served 200 free meals for rescue teams and local residents on August 3.
Nguyễn Thị Phương Liên, My’s neighbour, said she took 20 kilos of rice and went to the restaurant to help cook the meals.
Many teams of volunteers from other provinces also visited flood-hit areas in the northern mountainous provinces to support local residents.
Volunteers carry rice and basic necessities to flood-hit residents in Sơn La Province’s Mường La District. — VNA/VNS Photo Hữu Quyết
Life after the floods is still hard. Residents of Yên Bái Province’s Mù Cang Chải District continue to live in temporary shelters, working very hard to resume their daily life.
But most children are already attending school thanks to support and encouragement from local administration and schools. Teachers and students have been back since Wednesday.
Giàng Hoàng Sơn, an eigth-grader at the Võ Thị Sáu School who last his father to recently to the floods, said he wanted to go to school early.
“I wanted to go back quickly because I want to become an engineer like my father,” he said.
Phạm Thị Thủy, principal of the Mù Cang Chải Primary-Secondary School, said 85 per cent of her students returned to school on Tuesday.
Local markets have also re-opened. The Mông ethnic-minority people started to bring vegetables and foods to sell near Nậm Kim Stream in the district – where a flash flood killed 11 people on August 3.
Still at risk
Even as residents struggle to resume their lives, the the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting warned yesterday that rains are likely to continue battering northern provinces at least until Friday.
It said torrential downpours with the rainfall of up to 165mm could hit the provinces of Hà Giang, Tuyên Quang, Lai Châu, Hòa Bình and Quảng Ninh.
The districts of Xín Mần, Hoàng Su Phì, Bát Xát, Bảo Thắng and Bắc Hà in the mountainous provinces of Lào Cai and Hà Giang have been put on high alert of landslides since early morning. Water levels in the Hồng and Thái Bình rivers are rising fast, the centre said.
All affected localities have prepared for emergencies with evacuation plans and mobilisation of rescue forces. Local soldiers have rechecked areas at high risks of landslides.
The National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control sent an urgent message to localities on Sunday, asking them to prepare for prolonged downpours and its impacts.
It also asked localities to learn from their experiences and act to minimise damages.
on Thursday, the committee asked the three reservoirs of Sơn La, Hòa Bình and Tuyên Quang to open one floodgate each on today morning (August 18) to reduce water levels that were high because of the torrential rains. — VNS