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VFF funds drought, saltwater response

Update: May, 13/2016 - 09:20

HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, local VFF units and their member organisations decided to set aside VNĐ50.8 billion (US$2.3 million) to support provinces affected by prolonged droughts, saline intrusion and mass fish deaths.

The fund was announced at a regular meeting of the VFF Central Committee and local chapters yesterday.

The VFF Central Committee will grant a package of VNĐ7.5 billion ($340,000) to nine provinces suffering from severe drought and salinity in the Mekong Delta.

Accordingly, Bến Tre, Sóc Trăng, Tiền Giang, Cà Mau, Trà Vinh and Bạc Liêu provinces will be given VNĐ1 billion ($45,000) each. Kon Tum, Ninh Thuận and Bình Thuận will receive VNĐ500 million ($22,500) each.

Four central provinces, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế, will be given VNĐ4 billion ($180,000) to compensate for huge losses from fish die-offs.

Local VFF units in Hà Nội, HCM City, Điện Biên and Đà Nẵng will give nearly VNĐ40 billion ($1.8 million) to affected provinces.

A text-message campaign titled “Fresh water and livelihood for people affected by drought and salt intrusion”, organised by the Việt Nam Red Cross Society (VNRC) and the HCM City-based Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper, has mobilised more than VNĐ25 billion ($1.13 million), nearlyVNĐ14 billion ($630,000) of which is sourced from international support.

Aside from short-term subsidies such as rice and water, participants at the meeting proposed long-term solutions.

The most practical idea was to call on commercial banks to help disaster-hit residents borrow loans under preferential policies so they could invest in drought-resistant plants, said Nguyễn Thị Tuyết, deputy president of the Việt Nam Women’s Union.

Trần Thị Hồng An, deputy president of the Việt Nam Red Cross Society, proposed providing clean water containers to drought-affected residents and helping fishermen suffering from huge fish losses buy health insurance.

A representative from Việt Nam Farmer’s Union expressed concerns about the fact that local farmers are leaving their hometowns to go to other regions to get jobs.

A subsidy of VNĐ200,000 ($9) to VNĐ300,000 ($13) given to each household in the Central Highlands was not enough and only helped them afford a meal, the representative told Vietnam News Agency. Models that could be used to save water should be encouraged as a more long-term solution.

Nguyễn Thiện Nhân,VFF Central Committee president, said he acknowledged and appreciated support from VFF chapters, adding that the support must stabilise residents’ lives by enabling them to buy health insurance and educate their children.

Local VFF chapters and member organisations must ensure that at least 10 per cent of households in the Mekong Delta are provided containers to store water under VFF supervision, he said. — VNS

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