Storm-proof home initiative transforming living conditions

The recent storms causing misery in central Vietnam may have left large wounds in the lives of poor residents in the south-central province of Quang Ngai.

 However, many of them are able to avoid the very worst thanks to firm shelters provided through a jointly-funded special scheme.

Storm-proof home initiative transforming living conditions
Poor residents in several provinces are realising life-long dreams to have stable and safe homes.

More than a week has elapsed since storm No.9 swept across the south-central province of Quang Ngai, but both sides of the 35km road from the centre of the province’s Quang Ngai City to Binh Thuan Commune in Binh Son District still look like a war zone. Large patches of acacia trees planted by farmers and many big trunks have been uprooted, laying in disorder. Next to them, hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

Heavy rains have continued for days, causing numerous and lengthy power cuts, and many people have become homeless.

According to Quang Ngai People’s Committee, the storm has caused losses of about VND4.48 trillion (nearly $195 million), or 8.1 per cent of the province’s regional GDP last year.

The disaster injured 13 people, smashed down 325 houses, and blew away the roofs of over another 140,000 houses. Moreover, it also damaged 450 educational establishments, 70 health care facilities, and 105 communal homes, in addition to seriously damaging many roads and irrigation systems.

Poor fates 

Binh Thuan commune directly faces the sea, with a coastline of 12km. Many of the residents live on fishing activities, with an average annual income of VND30 million ($1,300). However, the commune has 273 poor households with an average monthly income of VND500-600,000 ($22-26), tantamount to the second-rate shirts that many white-collar workers in urban areas wear on most days.

With fear still on his face, the commune’s chairman Ngo Van Vuong told VIR, “The storm has been the most serious since early this year. It has heavily damaged 1,155 houses here, and some schools at different levels. We are finding ways to support affected people.”

A few hours before the storm arrived, the commune’s leadership ordered the evacuation of more than 1,000 people living in shabby houses to safety shelters that protected them from strong winds and flooding.

In Song Cau hamlet, 45-year-olrd rice farmer Huynh Anh Tho was among these evacuees. Two hours before his four-member family left his home with some belongings, the storm turned his brick-and-mortar home into a pile of rubble, with the roof blown away into the garden of a neighbour.

“We have lost everything in a wink. We had saved money for a decade to build this house a few years ago. Now we don’t know what to do, and many others are also suffering from such a plight. They can’t offer me much help,” said Tho, clearly struggling with sunken eyes due to sleepless nights.

The tortuous road to his house was still flooded, filled with waste which is polluting the living environment. Not so far from Tho’s house, 51-year-old ox farmer Nguyen Thi Huong also had her house unroofed by the storm. The skinny ox, which is the sole money-maker for the four-person family, escaped death when Huong swiftly removed it from the cowshed.

“Hardly any time had passed after I took it out to the gate when the cowshed collapsed. The rain and the winds were so harsh,” Huong told VIR. “If the animal died, we would have no way to earn money to feed my family.”

Next to Song Cau is Tuyet Diem 1 hamlet, also in Binh Thuan Commune. The hamlet’s residents are all suffering from woes caused by the latest storm. Nguyen Bong, a 60-year-old fisherman, has his house roof ripped off by a strong gust of wind. Bong is now living in his cousin’s home.

Bong’s house, whose walls are now broken, was built a few years ago as one of gratitude provided by the state. “My relatives are poor, and so are my neighbours. I don’t know what to do to get a new roof and repair the house. This is very expensive,” Bong sighed.

The cost for installing a new roof is estimated to be about VND20 million ($870), equivalent to a top-of-the-range smartphone.

Bong said that he has no idea how he can get that sort of money, which would take his three-member family at least five months of consecutive labour. “I don’t have even a single penny now. It is very hard to fish right now, simply because there are no fish – the sea has been contaminated.”

 

The lives of almost all residents in the commune remain in great woes with the storm polluting all sources of water, in addition to an invasion of mosquitos. It is also not easy for locals to buy mosquito nets because they are sold in the city, quite far from the poor village.

Safe dwelling 

While many families in Binh Thuan Commune became homeless, some have remained safe in their nests, free from the natural disaster’s effects. Poor female farmer Pham Thi Em, 51, is one of them.

Em has been living in her two-storey home since March. What makes the 30-square metre dwelling different from others is that it is a specially-constructed storm- and flood-resilient house, with a special and simple design which creates a stronger structure.

Features include a mezzanine level for flooding protection, reinforced roofing, and the use of strong cement. The mezzanine level allows residents to comfortably stay in their houses during a disaster, safe from high flood levels. It can also be used as an area to store valuables during disasters and avoid it being washed away or spoiled by flooding waters.

“The house is my life-long dream. When I was given the house, I was like the cat that got the cream,” said the day-labourer who lives on an average of $2 a day. “Previously, my old wooden house was shabby with a leaked roof and cracked walls, making it very hard to live in, especially during rainy days.”

During the latest storm, dozens of neighbours stayed in Em’s house as their own had been uproofed.

Em’s special house, worth VND63 million ($2,700) is among 23 storm- and flood-resilient homes set up in Binh Thuan commune alone. The buildings are part of a project to improve the resilience of coastal communities to climate change in Vietnam, funded jointly by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Vietnamese government, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project has been running since 2017 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Construction, and the UNDP. Its total investment capital is nearly $42 million, including over $30.8 million in grants from the GCF and $1.6 million from the UNDP, while the remaining comes from the Vietnamese government. It is expected that about 4,000 houses of the type will be built in the five coastal provinces of Thanh Hoa, Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, and Quang Ngai.

“All the beneficiaries in the commune are very poor or disabled people who mostly live alone,” said Binh Thuan Commune chairman Vuong.

One disabled local, 75-year-old Ngo Thi Hanh, had to live in her cousin’s house for years in Tuyet Diem 2 hamlet before she was selected by the commune to receive a 30-sq.m house from the project in April.

“It has gone beyond what I could imagine – it is quite good and quite safe. It is an invaluable gift,” said the woman, sitting on the shining floor made of enamelled tiles. “I can live safely for the remaining years of my life. The old house had an earthen floor which often got wet during rainy days.”

The project is not only found in Binh Thuan Commune, but also in another 35 communes in the districts of Binh Son, Tu Nghia, Mo Duc, and Duc Pho, as well as in Quang Ngai City in Quang Ngai Province.

As of late October, 666 houses of the kind have been put into use in Quang Ngai, according to the UNDP.

“The houses are especially important to vulnerable people in disaster-prone areas. They are safe during stormy and rainy days, helping protect poor people’s lives. We would say that they have turned the dreams of the locals into reality,” said Nguyen Van Han, vice director of Quang Ngai’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. VIR

Nguyen Dat

What cause disasters in central Vietnam?

What cause disasters in central Vietnam?

Many people have died in the central region, thousands of people are living outdoors, and infrastructure has been destroyed by floods and landslides. Why does the central region suffer from disasters every year?

Flood death toll in central region rises to 106

Flood death toll in central region rises to 106

The death toll during the recent severe flooding caused by torrential rains in the central region reached 106 as of 5 pm on October 20, while 27 others were missing, reported the Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

 
 

Other News

.
Millions of students start online learning
Millions of students start online learning
SOCIETYicon  09/09/2021 

Millions of students nationwide have started the new school year via an online learning model due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnam logs 12,680 new COVID-19 infections, 335 deaths on September 8
Vietnam logs 12,680 new COVID-19 infections, 335 deaths on September 8
SOCIETYicon  08/09/2021 

Vietnam recorded 12,680 new COVID-19 infections, including 17 imported cases, in the past 24 hours to 5pm on September 8, the Ministry of Health announced.

HCM City mulls Covid-19 green pass policy
HCM City mulls Covid-19 green pass policy
SOCIETYicon  08/09/2021 

Economic and medical experts in HCMC are in the process of studying and designing the Covid-19 green pass, said municipal chairman Phan Van Mai.

Vietnam to cooperate with French firm to conduct clinical trials of XAV-19 COVID-19 treatment drug
Vietnam to cooperate with French firm to conduct clinical trials of XAV-19 COVID-19 treatment drug
SOCIETYicon  08/09/2021 

Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan held an online working session with France’s Xenothera company on cooperation to conduct the third phase of clinical trial of Xenothera-developed XAV-19 COVID-19 treatment drug 

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 8
VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 8
SOCIETYicon  08/09/2021 

Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi to visit Viet Nam this week

Kind acts during pandemic can be abused by fraudsters
Kind acts during pandemic can be abused by fraudsters
FEATUREicon  08/09/2021 

More than ever, caution is needed when helping those in need during the epidemic through social platforms as fraudulent acts have increased.

HCM City plans to spend nearly US$350 million to support the needy after Sept. 15
HCM City plans to spend nearly US$350 million to support the needy after Sept. 15
SOCIETYicon  08/09/2021 

HCM City Chairman Phan Van Mai said there are about 2 million households with 5.3 million people in need of welfare support in HCM City.

Vietnam may get 30 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses in September-October
Vietnam may get 30 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses in September-October
SOCIETYicon  08/09/2021 

More shipments of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Vietnam, with about 30 million more doses in September and October, Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan said.

Vietnam logs 14,208 new COVID-19 cases on September 7
Vietnam logs 14,208 new COVID-19 cases on September 7
SOCIETYicon  07/09/2021 

Vietnam recorded 14,208 new COVID-19 cases, including 15 imported ones, on September 7, bringing the national count to 550,996, the Ministry of Health said.

Gov't asks 10 northern provinces, defence ministry to prepare to help Hanoi's COVID-19 efforts
Gov't asks 10 northern provinces, defence ministry to prepare to help Hanoi's COVID-19 efforts
SOCIETYicon  07/09/2021 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Tuesday asked the defence ministry and 10 northern localities to be prepared to provide support for Hanoi's COVID-19 prevention and control efforts.

Oxygen producers ensure sufficient supply of medical oxygen
Oxygen producers ensure sufficient supply of medical oxygen
SOCIETYicon  08/09/2021 

Oxygen plants in the south are stepping up production to meet domestic demand.

Hanoi considers allowing fully vaccinated people to travel
Hanoi considers allowing fully vaccinated people to travel
FEATUREicon  07/09/2021 

Hanoi has asked the Ministry of Health (MOH) to give guidance on allowing fully vaccinated people to travel and participate in production and pandemic prevention activities.

Fully vaccinated people still have to comply with social distancing regulations, 5K message: Health ministry
Fully vaccinated people still have to comply with social distancing regulations, 5K message: Health ministry
SOCIETYicon  07/09/2021 

The Ministry of Health said those who have been fully vaccinated still have to comply with anti-pandemic warnings, including social distancing and 5K messages.

Vietnam’s “forest man” Ho Van Lang passes away
Vietnam’s “forest man” Ho Van Lang passes away
SOCIETYicon  07/09/2021 

Mr. Ho Van Lang - who lived in the forest for more than 40 years - has passed away at the age of 52 after a long battle with liver cancer.

HCM City calls for 54,000 recovered Covid-19 patients to take part in epidemic prevention and control
HCM City calls for 54,000 recovered Covid-19 patients to take part in epidemic prevention and control
SOCIETYicon  07/09/2021 

HCM City has more than 87,000 Covid-19 patients who have completed quarantine, including 54,000 people of working age.

Health ministry tells HCM City, southern provinces to wrap up COVID vaccination by September 15
Health ministry tells HCM City, southern provinces to wrap up COVID vaccination by September 15
SOCIETYicon  07/09/2021 

The Ministry of Health has called on HCM City, Hanoi and the provinces of Binh Duong, Long An and Dong Nai to ensure everyone aged 18 and above get the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine by September 15.

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 7
VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 7
SOCIETYicon  07/09/2021 

PM to attend 7th Greater Mekong Sub-region Summit

Typhoon Conson set to take complex path
Typhoon Conson set to take complex path
SOCIETYicon  08/09/2021 

Typhoon Conson will enter the East Sea on September 8 night and is forecast to take a complicated path.

Hanoi to tighten travel regulations from September 8
Hanoi to tighten travel regulations from September 8
SOCIETYicon  06/09/2021 

Hanoi will tighten the check of travel permit from September 8 as part of efforts to ensure strict implementation of social distancing measures to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 pandemic.

Hanoi publicises COVID-19 hotlines
Hanoi publicises COVID-19 hotlines
SOCIETYicon  06/09/2021 

The Hanoi Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has announced a list of COVID-19 hotlines for handling related information and opinions from local residents.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN