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|Help at hand for flooded provinces (source: facebook.com/FcThuyTien )|
Earlier this month singer Thuy Tien shared on Facebook that she would visit some heavily-flooded localities in Thua Thien-Hue province to provide gifts to support the people there. Her decision was made after images of isolated villages submerged in floodwater were continuously being shared in the media and online, which was keeping Tien and many others awake at night.
In particular, a landslide that caused the deaths of 13 soldiers in Phong Dien district urged her to act quickly in order to support more people. The soldiers were attempting to rescue 17 construction workers after a previous mudslide trapped them.
Thuy Tien has been known for her philanthropy, successfully implementing many large-scale charity programmes such as one to support people in the fight to protect mangroves, and another to build bridges in rural U Minh Thuong. After just a few days of calling for the help of the community, her personal account received over VND 100 billion ($4.3 million) in donations.
The money will be used to buy relief food and some will also be donated directly to people in difficult circumstances so that they can recover quickly after the floods pass. The remainder is hoped to be used to repair roads and build flood-proof houses.
“With a lot of money, I feel worried that the responsibility will be heavier, but thinking about the joy of people receiving support, I am determined to try my best,” Tien said.
The singer’s act has been considered a catalyst for further help and programmes of support from individuals and associations throughout Vietnam. And on social networks, many people and businesses are spreading a message of solidarity with the central region.
Guaranteeing a supply of food is the most urgent matter, and many people in localities such as Hanoi, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, and Dak Lak have packed thousands of moon cakes to promptly support people in the worst-hit areas.
Nguyen Thu, 26, from Hoai Duc district in Hanoi, said her villagers have packed about 2,000 moon cakes and are in the process of transporting these gifts to people in flooded areas.
Although supplies from volunteer groups continued to pour in, transporting it to isolated areas is a major challenge without the help of specialised vehicles travelling across the water. As a result, people with canoes and other boats have quickly gathered in flooded areas to support the transport of goods.
After providing free food and medicine transport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Danang, Tran Dang Vinh established a free canoe team to rescue people in distress. When the floods started affecting Quang Tri in October, the free canoe team was already set for action. “Things have been very difficult after the pandemic, but helping is a must when our people are in distress,” said Vinh.
In early October, two canoes were transported from Danang to Quang Tri to support the transportation of goods to the centre of the floodplain. On October 13, five other canoes in Danang were brought to Quang Tri, and many other canoe clubs from Hanoi, Nghe An, and elsewhere have also chipped in to assist.
Along with supportive activities for people who are in flood-hit areas, many individuals and businesses are also contributing to relief work by providing free accommodation and transport for the relief teams.
Despite a year of heavy losses and little revenue due to the pandemic, many hotels in Thua Thien-Hue still decided to assist by providing free support to relief teams from all over the country to Hue to give gifts to people in flooded areas. Starting at just one hotel, after two days the programme spread to more than 10 hotels with more than 200 rooms accompanied by cargo truck services, passenger cars, restaurants, and catering services for the relief teams.
Vietnamese airlines and some shipping units have implemented a series of policies to support goods and passengers travelling in the central region. Vietnam Post announced that it will ensure no delivery charges for relief goods to the provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue until the end of October.
Sharing in the difficulties that the people in the central region are facing, Vietjet announced that from last week the airline will provide free transportation and priority for relief goods on the earliest Vietjet flights which depart from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to airports in Chu Lai (Quang Nam), Danang, Phu Bai (Thua Thien-Hue), Dong Hoi (Quang Binh), and Vinh (Nghe An). The airline is also giving free air tickets to officials of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and People’s Committees of provinces and cities who have duties in the Central region during this period.
Besides that, all passengers arriving and departing from Hue, Dong Hoi, and Vinh airports with scheduled departure times until November 15 can change their flight dates free of charge and pay only the fare difference (if any) with new departure times until January 31, 2021.
In order to create convenience for passengers wishing to bring more relief items such as necessities, food, etc. to supply for the people, Vietnam Airlines has also implemented a free ticket exchange programme and one free baggage allowance for passengers travelling to Vinh, Hue, and Dong Hoi until October 31.
In addition to passenger support policies, Vietnam Airlines Group (including Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines, and VASCO) have also received and transported relief goods free of charge for people in Central Vietnam from Vietnam Fatherland Front Committees at all levels, provincial People’s Committees, the Vietnam Red Cross Association, and other social organisations.
“The gift packages that bring the sympathy and love of the people of the country towards the people of the floodplain made us extremely touched,” said Hoang Van Thai, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Committee of Phong Dien district in Thua Thien-Hue. “The help has not been able to bring back people’s losses after successive floods, and life is still a series of struggles. But it does offer great love, sharing, and spiritual encouragement of the people of this country towards us.”