The American Red Cross contributed $100,000 to assist with relief efforts in Vietnam following the devastation caused by Typhoons Wutip and Nari in the fall of 2013. The funding is being used to provide cash grants, which help people rebuild their lives, farms and communities. In April, the American Red Cross also deployed a specialist to assist with training and monitoring the disbursement of these cash grants.
Nguyen Hoanh, a 73 year old farmer, grew peppers and raised chickens and pigs on his land. He earned enough from his farm to comfortably support himself and his wife. That was before Typhoon Wutip struck Nguyen’s home province of Quang Tri, completely wiping out his pepper fields. Strong winds, heavy rains and subsequent flooding damaged infrastructure in entire community.
Just as Mr. Nguyen finished buying enough supplies to repair the torn roof of his house another Category 1 typhoon, Nari made landfall. Not only did his roof of his home collapse but floodwater drowned his livestock.
Both storms and their accompanying rain and flooding resulted in significant devastation to peoples’ homes, crops, and community infrastructure. Quang Tri province is no stranger to storms, but the frequency has been increasing in recent years.
In addition to contributing financial support, the American Red Cross sent a cash in emergencies specialist, Christina Hammond, to assist with the program which provided $47 to $98 USD to affected households. Each family worked with Vietnam Red Cross volunteers to develop a personal disaster recovery plan before they received the grants.
Using his savings, Nguyen had begun repairing his house, rebuilding cages and restocking with new pigs and chickens. He also started a new garden for fruits and vegetables to feed his family and livestock. With his cash grant Nguyen bought a pig and five hens, chicks, feed for the animals.
“I am so thankful and eternally grateful to the Red Cross for this money. I promise to honor it until the last breath of my life,” Nguyen said.
It will take some time before his efforts amount to what he had previously, but at this point in his life, he is not interested in turning a profit on his fields or livestock – only caring for his wife, surviving the weather and keeping his land.