ESSENTIALS: The military delivers basic food supplies to residents in District 11 of Hồ Chí Minh City. Photo courtesy of Sài Gòn Giải Phóng newspaper
Supermarkets in Hồ Chí Minh City have launched various combos to deliver food and home necessities to local residents in lockdown faster, while soldiers are assisting with the delivery.
Many recipients appreciated and cooperated in these unprecedented measures to ensure people stay home to help control the pandemic. But some people have not been pleased by the options available or some of the prices.
A resident in Tân Phú district was aghast to find out that ward sent out a list of combos without any meat or fish. Six combos of daily necessities cost from VNĐ350,000 to VNĐ1 million each.
The two combos at the lowest price include soy sauce, cooking oil, instant noodles, chicken eggs, green beans, red beetroots, carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbages, cucumbers and pumpkins.
The combo at the other end of the price chart includes seasoning, instant noodle, rice, soy sauce, cooking oil, monosodium glutamate, milk, chicken eggs, green beans, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables.
The shopping combos help reduce the time for delivering goods, but the buying capacity of city residents limits their choices. The structure of the combos need to be comprised of vital foods with flexibility to change the types of food to suit people’s shopping needs.
As a result, a list of vital food and necessary supplies must be made available to all supermarkets as well as city residents, so that overlapping and misunderstandings can be avoided. Some customers have said, the list must add baby and elderly diapers, sanitary pads, baby formula, toilet paper, washing detergent and tooth brushes and paste.
City supermarkets including Aeon and Bách Hóa Xanh have offered more affordable combos. Aeon has four simple combos at VNĐ450,000- 500,000 that include pig bones, pork belly, pork shoulder, fish, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, limes, mustard greens, and lettuces.
Meanwhile, Bách Hóa Xanh's combo prices vary from VNĐ120,000 to VNĐ500,000, where shoppers can pick from a meat combo that includes pork, beef, chicken, fish, vegetables or seasoning. Home detergents, dried groceries and other combo supplies include packed cookies, milk and bottled drinks, which are varied and have a week's supply. Prices are less than VNĐ900,000.
The chairman of District 11 People's Committee told the Sài Gòn Giải Phóng newspaper that all the wards in his district had started helping local residents with food supply since August 24.
The district coordinated with supermarkets in the area to design various shopping combos for people to choose, then each ward's COVID community teams, with help from the military, go shopping and deliver the goods to each household.
The media has shown images of young soldiers having difficulties choosing between a vast range of baby formulas or cotton pads. Some people suggested that the supermarkets should prepare the goods because they know the brands, prices and work more efficiently. It was suggested that it would be better if the ward community teams and soldiers only delivered the goods rather than picked them out.
From the local ward level, Nguyễn Thế Dũng, chairman of Ward 14 People's Committee, was quoted as saying households could shop online at local supermarkets then community teams and soldiers would just help deliver their goods.
Other households, who could not pay online, will get a receipt upon receiving the goods.
Supermarkets also have limited good resources, which they said must be updated every day. A fixed list for the week cannot be guaranteed.
In Tam Phú Ward of Thủ Đức City, chairman Phạm Văn Hùng said that his community COVID teams helped local households do grocery shopping twice a week, with each shopping list not exceeding VNĐ1 million.
He said that local community COVID teams also delivered necessary goods to other households, who could not afford grocery shopping with food bags at VNĐ200,000 each, including rice, cooking oil, noodles and vegetables.
Besides getting enough food every day, a positive and upbeat spirit is also needed, according to Xuân Phượng, 92, a war documentary filmmaker, pediatrician and best-selling author.
"Here's my life these days: I live in an apartment in Sài Gòn with a domestic helper. I need to use my walking stick to get around. Even walking in our building paths now belongs to the past," Xuân Phương wrote in a letter published by VNExpress.
"But I shall not let the coronavirus deter my spirit. Like previous times, when I had to overcome life challenges during the war years, if my feet cannot get me walking out, I let my mind fly back to my youth 50 years ago, when I was a war correspondent."
STRONG SPIRIT: Xuân Phượng, 92, war correspondent (pictured here during her book launch in 2020), sends an upbeat message despite the chaos. Photo coutersy of Quỳnh My
Xuân Phượng wrote that her memory took her back to trips filming documentaries in Vĩnh Linh, Quảng Trị Province, when it was being bombed, or trips to Laos and Cambodia under tropical torrential rains while trekking on sharp stone slopes.
"What keeps my spirits up these days is to see my younger friends,” she wrote. “Many of them are my neighbours and in their late 60s now. I see them play music, bake cakes at home, learn a new language or watch briefings on the TV news.“
"What makes me cry these days is to see video of doctors, nurses and sanitary workers getting exhausted after long stressful working hours; they don’t get a bed to rest but have to lie down on the floor.”
She said that she was moved to tears to witness the compassion of people in hardship and reminded herself of a song by legendary Vietnamese musician Trịnh Công Sơn, "I, me, myself, do not be despaired." VNS
If you are in HÀ NỘI and need help during social distancing, call the following listed numbers of the 30 district chapters of the Việt Nam Fatherland Front.
1. BA ĐÌNH Dist.
Address: 18B Lê Hồng phong St.
2. BẮC TỪ LIÊM Dist.
Address: Rm 401-403 Building CT6B, Kiều Mai city town, Phúc Diễn Ward
3. CẦU GIẤY Dist.
Address: Số 18 lane 68/39 Cầu Giấy Rd.
4. ĐỐNG ĐA Dist.
Address: Số 279 Tôn Đức Thắng St.
5. HÀ ĐÔNG Dist.
Address: No. 4, Minh Khai St.
6. HAI BÀ TRƯNG Dist.
Address: No. 15, Lane 295 Bạch Mai St.
7. HOÀN KIẾM Dist.
Address: 42 Nhà Chung St.
8. HOÀNG MAI Dist.
Address: Rm 301, District Administration Headquarter, Hoàng Liệt Ward
9. LONG BIÊN Dist.
Address: No. 1, Vạn Hạnh St., Việt Hưng city town
10. NAM TỪ LIÊM Dist
Địa chỉ: Số 127 Hồ Tùng Mậu, P. Cầu Diễn, quận Nam Từ Liêm, TP Hà Nội
Điện thoại: 38.372.971
11. TÂY HỒ Dist.
Address: No. 657 Lạc Long Quân St.
Tel: 37.533.396 ext. 239 or 240
12. THANH XUÂN Dist.
Address: No. 9 Khuất Duy Tiến Avenue
13. SƠN TÂY TOWN
Address: No.3, Trương Vương St., Lê Lợi Ward
14. BA VÌ Dist.
Address: Tây Đằng town,
Tel: 33.863.060 Fax: 33.961.037
15. CHƯƠNG MỸ Dist.
Address: Bình Sơn, Chúc Sơn town
16. ĐAN PHƯỢNG Dist.
Address: No.105 Tây Sơn St., Phùng town
17. ĐÔNG ANH Dist.
Address: Residence No.2, Đông Anh town
Tel: 38.832.535 - 38.838.886; Fax: 38.832.535
18. GIA LÂM Dist.
Address: No. 6, Ngô Xuân Quảng St., Trâu Quỳ Town
19. HOÀI ĐỨC Dist.
Address: Trạm Trôi town
20. MÊ LINH Dist.
Address: Đại Thịnh Commune
21. MỸ ĐỨC Dist.
Address: Đại Nghĩa town
22. PHÚ XUYÊN Dist.
Address: Phú Xuyên town
Tel: 33.792.398 - 33.854.018
23. PHÚC THỌ Dist.
Address: Phúc Thọ town
24. QUỐC OAI Dist.
Address: Quốc Oai town
25. SÓC SƠN Dist.
Address: No.2, Đa Phúc Rd, Sóc Sơn town
26. THẠCH THẤT Dist.
Address: No.4, Chi Quan Rd, Liên Quan town
27. THANH OAI Dist.
Address: No. 135 Kim Bài town
28. THANH TRÌ Dist.
Address: No. 12 Văn Điển town
29. THƯỜNG TÍN Dist.
Address: Thường Tín Dist. centre, Thường Tín town
30. ỨNG HÒA Dist.
Address: Vân Đình town