Thursday, 29 October 2020
Since the beginning of October, the Vietnamese people have lived through four catastrophic storm events, including the most recent typhoon, Molave. At least 132 people have lost their lives; over 178 houses have been destroyed, as well as infrastructure. With more torrential rain on its way, over a million Vietnamese residents have been evacuated from their homes. The flow-on effects of these torrential storms, and the major flooding and landslides that have occurred, have been experienced throughout the central region of Vietnam, cutting roads, lines of communication and killing 22 soldiers at a military camp.
The disaster has compounded the economic and health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Christopher Rassi from the Red Cross saying:
These floods are the last straw and will push millions of people further towards the brink of poverty.
The citizens of Vietnam, particularly through the Hue and Quang Binh provinces, are not wealthy. And now that their homes and their livelihoods have been lost, their situation is completely dire. Although communities in Central Vietnam have had to learn to live with flooding events, the severity of these storms and torrential rains this month means they will need to rebuild entire villages from the ground up.
Last Friday, the Australian embassy in Vietnam announced that Australia would provide $100,000 in immediate humanitarian support to the people of Vietnam, which I fully agree with. However, to be quite frank, much more is needed for the Vietnamese to begin to recover. The humanitarian crisis caused by the events of the past month have meant that, before the Vietnamese people can even think about rebuilding their communities, they need emergency shelter, safe drinking water, food and income support. I urge the Australian government to continue providing active and practical humanitarian support to all those who have been displaced, who, no doubt, will be struggling with recovery efforts for some time to come. We have a thriving Vietnamese community here in Australia, and particularly in my electorate of Fowler. On their behalf, can I say that we stand in solidarity with the people of Vietnam and offer our sincere condolences on the loss of so many lives and homes as a result of these catastrophic floods.