Even before the landfall of Typhoon Sarika in northern Vietnam and southern China yesterday, central Vietnam had already recently experienced intense, deadly flooding. The intense rains were the result of the remnants of Tropical Storm Aere (Julian).  Associated Press reported that as of 17 October 2016 rainfall of up to 90 centimeters (nearly 3 feet) submerged 125,000 homes, and 31 people had died in the flooding. (As with any natural disaster, the death toll may be anticipated to rise as rescuers reach more remote areas, and as flood waters recede.)

Friends of Hue Foundation
Flood Relief
October 2016

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In response, the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) announced pledged offers of USD$88.3 million to help offer direct services to disaster victims. “All money collected will be used to support 10,000 affected families in central Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien – Huế provinces,” as was reported in the Voice of Vietnam.

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Landscapes have been turned into lakes by floodwaters.

Jenny Do, e2f Legal Counsel communicated, “e2f has been working with Friends of Huế Foundation (FHF) and [e2f’s local] team. The flood in the past several days have brought much destruction to the area.” While the offices that e2f operates out of were unaffected and none of our customer projects are at risk, it is obvious from these photos that the rural areas in their vicinity are severely affected.

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Villagers resort to boating through streets.

The images in this blog are not from news sources, but were taken by those who work with e2f in Vietnam and the Friends of Hue Foundation. It is one thing to see news and sympathize with survivors and victims. It is another thing entirely to be living in the disaster zone.

About 950 homes near Huế are now without roofs. Flooding from the rains was exacerbated by the release of dams. This tactic was used to avoid a repeat of the catastrophic collapse of a dam last month, but exacerbated local flooding. Animals and crops have been washed away.

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Structures have collapsed or lost their roofs.

FHF plans to conduct its first round of emergency relief this weekend in Thua Thien Huế and Quang Binh provinces. On Saturday, 22 October 2016, it will focus on the needs of Phong Bình and Phong Hoà villages near Huế, as volunteers can safely reach these locations. On Sunday, 23 October 2016, FHF will attempt to reach six other villages isolated due to flood waters in Quang Binh.

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Rainfall turned streets into torrents.

The first priority is to perform needs assessment, both as a community survey as well as on a family-by-family basis. Those most seriously affected will be prioritized. Volunteers are being organized, including local e2f staff. For its part, e2f has pledged US$2,000 to provide for small farmers who have lost everything and need help to rebuild after the disaster. According to Michel Lopez, CEO of e2f, “We will help about 10 families ($200 each) by providing micro-financing assistance. This will be handled directly by FHF in cooperation with another organization which has been working in Vietnam for many years.”

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People looking for remnants of their lives in the wreckage.

The devastation of this storm is also matched or exceeded by other disasters that have occurred near concurrently around the world, from the Atlantic storm Hurricane Matthew, which devastated parts of Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, and the U.S., as well as the Pacific Typhoons Sarika (Karen) and Haima (Lawin), which hammered the Philippines and China. (Lawin has not yet made landfall in China, but is expected to impact the coast in the days ahead.)

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Many homes will be uninhabitable after floodwaters recede until cleaned up.

We know that we’ll be committed to helping out the community in this time of intense need. We look forward to the generous giving of our linguistic community friends and colleagues. Our best wishes and solidarity to the people of Vietnam, and to all others who are presently enduring or recovering from natural disasters. Also, our thanks to all aid agencies and volunteers who are pitching in to help in relief and recovery efforts in Vietnam and around the world.

(Full disclosure: Ms. Do is also the Chairwoman of Friends of Huế.)