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Clean Water in Rural Vietnam

  • Vietnam Red Cross

      19 March 2009

    Years of natural disasters and disease have left some of the most vulnerable members of Vietnamfs population in need of a helping hand. According to local figures 70 per cent of Vietnamfs population earn a living from agriculture which can be highly vulnerable to both natural disasters and disease. Typhoons in 2006 and floods in 2007 led to a shortage of food and the loss of homes for thousands of people. In addition, outbreaks of both avian influenza and acute diarrhoea killed hundreds and raised the need for greater education of safe hygiene standards. The Red Cross of Vietnam is looking to address many of the issues facing vulnerable people in Vietnam and is doing this with help from New Zealand Red Cross. New Zealand Red Cross Humanitarian Programmes Manager Glenn Rose says Vietnam is one of the most disaster prone countries in Asia. gVietnamfs long coastline and unique mix of geography exposes it to frequent typhoons, floods and drought. For example devastating typhoons Xangsane and Durian, which hit the country in late 2006, affected 2.5 million people,h said Mr Rose. With the country being so prone to disasters, Vietnam Red Cross is working with communities with preparedness programmes to build resilience, as past experience has shown that communities who are prepared are better able to cope in disaster situations. Programmes that Vietnam Red Cross deliver in rural villages provide clean drinking water and hygiene education and are making a real difference for families and communities. Then Tai Voung is a mother of three who has benefited from safe water programmes that Vietnam Red Cross have delivered to her village. gWith the water system, my family can use clean water for everything from cooking to washing. We come from work, we can use clean water, itfs very useful. The health of my family has improved. Before we had clean water they suffered from diarrhoea,"" she says. In north-east Vietnam, people in the remote Nam Lu area have benefited from a Vietnam Red Cross programme that has trained women from the local villages to become village health volunteers. They spread messages about healthy behaviour and take the lead in community development activities such as building wells, bathrooms and latrines.

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