Braving the flood to look after my buffaloes

An Xa village, Quang Binh province, Viet Nam, 27th October 2020 – “We lost almost everything. Our biggest asset are the two buffaloes, but they were swept away by the flash flood.”, said Nguyen Van Hat, 48 years old. Hoat’s 2 buffaloes costed 50 million Vietnam’s Dong (approximately 2,000 USD). His family felt very fortunate to have those two buffaloes to help work on the farm and increase their production to escape from poverty hope for a better future for the children. 

Hat said his family, including his wife and 3 daughters were evacuated by local authorities, but he quickly decided to return home alone to look after the buffaloes, his most valuable possession. He encountered high waves and strong wind on the journey back home on a small fishing boat and eventually the boat capsized. Luckily it happened near to his home and he was able to swim to the shore. He survived for 3 days in the attic of his house without food or drinking water and he was exhausted when village rescuers finally reached his house. Hat sadly shared that his family has lost everything and he cannot sleep thinking about how he will provide for his wife and children.

“I’m really concerned about the living conditions for my 3 daughters right now.”, said Hoat’s wife – Ho Thi Ha. “We don’t have safe drinking water. We have to use river water for drinking. I tried to boil the water before drinking but one of my girls is now having stomachache.”, she added.

“Our toilet was destroyed. Trashes and garbage are everywhere around the house. I am really worried about my girls’ personal hygiene.”.

The floods have caused severe damage in Hat’s village. Hat’s story illustrates how a natural disaster can be devastating for poor families. People in the village can’t access running water, toilets are under water or destroyed, and the lack of personal hygiene and sanitation is increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.

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