U.S. Water News Online
HANOI, Vietnam -- Record flooding in southern Vietnam has
transformed rice paddies and rural communities into ``desolate
lakes,'' the Red Cross has reported.
Hundreds of families are living in makeshift shanties crammed onto
earthen dikes or along rural roads -- the only ``high ground'' for
miles around, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies in Vietnam said in a report.
``As far as the eye can see, all you see are the roofs of houses
and eucalyptus trees,'' said John Geoghegan, head of the relief group
in Vietnam, who made surveying trips. ``From time to time, you come
across dikes with 200-300 families living on them, slowly
Record flooding in Cambodia and Vietnam has affected more than a
million people, with many made homeless and needing food and other
Heavy rains began in July, a month-and-a half ahead of the normal
monsoon. The rainfall continued, swelling the Mekong River, which
cuts through Cambodia and Vietnam and feeds numerous tributaries.
In Vietnam, steadily rising floodwaters in the Mekong Delta have
forced more than 25,000 families from their homes, leaving them with
a critical shortage of food, water and shelter, government officials
and relief workers said.
Officials from the provinces of An Giang, Long An and Dong Thap
said 184,000 homes have been flooded.
More than 2,500 soldiers, militiamen, and volunteers have been
sent to help people battle the floods.
Weather forecasters say water levels in some areas have hit 16
feet -- the level of floods in 1996 when nearly 200 people were
killed. By the end of the month, it will likely approach the historic
flood level of 17.1 feet reached in 1961.
Initial damage is estimated at $25 million, according to
In neighboring Cambodia, more than 42,000 families are homeless
due to the flooding, the Cambodian Foreign Ministry announced in an
appeal for aid.
An earlier report from the country's official disaster team said
1.2 million people in 13 provinces have been affected, with nearly
30,000 people evacuated and 99,000 homes flooded, including 1,700
that had been destroyed.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies in Cambodia estimated that 500,000 people ``are in need of
emergency assistance, including clothing, food, sheets of plastic,
``As these floods seem to continue to ravage for another extended
period, the Royal Government wishes to appeal for more generous
donations to the flood victims,'' said the statement from the Foreign
Ministry to embassies, United Nations' agencies, non-governmental
organizations, and private corporations in Cambodia.
The cash-strapped government has few resources and routinely
relies on the international community for assistance.
Authorities were again fortifying with sandbags two dikes that
protect Phnom Penh, said the capital's chief of Cabinet, Mann
Chhoeun. The dikes are critical in protecting the capital, home to
nearly 10 percent of the nation's population.
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