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Published: December 9th 2007
BACH DANG STREET
Only those with a two storey dwelling can save their few possessions.
The past few weeks have seen the worst floods in fifty years reek havoc in many parts of Vietnam. One of the worst affected areas has been low lying Central Vietnam.
Most of Lifestart’s work is concentrated in Central Vietnam, in particular Quang Nam Province .
The majority of the families that Lifestart helps live on a flood prone peninsula in flimsy dwellings, or in tiny boats on the annually flooding river. Whilst the families are used to dealing with the annual floods, this year everyone was caught off guard by the timing and enormity of the flood.
A week prior to the big flood a relatively small flood hit our school and families. During that flood the Lifestart school was 20 centimeters under water, as were the surrounding houses. We all thought that we had been lucky this year and that the floods were only mild by comparison.
After the typhoon that destroyed so much at the same time the previous year, we all thought we were due for a reprieve in 2007.
Sadly this was not to be…… A massive flood hit the peninsula during the night and rose quickly. Tu, my eldest adopted
ARRIVING AT SCHOOL
Students arrive to help clean up, the boat pictured is at the front steps of the school....
son and Ghi one of our Jobstart kids went down to the school to check on the rising river at about 8pm. They were then stranded at the school overnight taking refuge balancing on the window ledge as the water rose around them. (I have since found out that the two boys were actually on the roof all night! They had told me they stood on the window ledge as they didn't wan't me to worry!)
The flood continued to rise during the night, I asked them couldn’t they have swam to safety as they are both strong boys but they made the wise decision to stay put as it was pitch black ( power was off ) and the current of the flood was very strong. In addition loads of debris ( the contents of people’s homes ) was being washed away.
Our families have lost everything. They have the clothes on their backs and that’s about it. Food, clothing household contents was washed away or ruined.
The flood rose one storey high about three meters. Our families that live in single storey dwellings spent the night clinging to the rafters of their houses.
THE CLEAN UP TEAM
Usually the kids would bike ride down to our school, today it is boat transport only.
of the people who you have now come to know via my blogs have been greatly affected by this flood. They include:
Hiep (the herb farmer) had his crop wiped out. Hiep lives miles out of town but the water still managed to find his land and he needed to get a boat into his house! Link to Hiep's blog: Hiep's Changed Life - The Perfect Seedling Grant!
Hanh (who knits scarves and is a member of our disabled group) lives right on the river, her house was under water. Link to Hanh’s blog: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A THREE WHEEL MOTORBIKE MAKES!
Hoa, another member of our disabled group with two young children also lost everything.Link to Hoa’s blog: The Worldwide problem of being a working mother! - Meet Hoa in Hoi An
Hoa, Phuong and their three sons live in a single story small room, this was completely under water. Link to blog: HOA, PHUONG & THEIR THREE SONS
Rin (a young widow) and her two sons also live on the river. They lost what little they had.
Truyen who has cerebral palsy lives with her family close to the Lifestart School, their house was not spared either. Link to blog: THUY, DUC, TRUYEN AND TAY
The Lifestart Foundation Free School was hit hard, we have lost almost everything, it is a crushing blow .
THE CLEAN UP
Our gorgeous English class students all helping clean up our classrooms.
The students are doing their best to clean up the mess left after the flood and the government have sent the army down to our school to help .
I return to Vietnam in December at which point I will roll up my sleeves, regroup, assess the damage and classes will resume as soon as practical.
If you would like to help these families or help re establish the Lifestart Foundation Free School donations will be gratefully accepted.
Lots of love from Karen.
P.S. If you know of people who may be interested in the work that Lifestart Foundation is doing please forward this blog or fill out the subscription for them.
Subscription is free and they will then recieve the blogs directly.
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