HANOI – World Vision staff are quickly changing gears as they prepare for the arrival of Typhoon Haiyan after it shifted course late last night. The storm is expected to bring 20 to 30 cm of rain to northern Vietnam, where several other tropical storms have recently battered the region.
“The extra rain could mean flooding, even landslides, in an area still recovering from tropical storms last month,” says Mr. Le Van Duong, World Vision Vietnam’s National Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Coordinator.
Yesterday, World Vision staff and government counterparts helped move some 600,000 people to evacuations centres in Central Vietnam where the storm was initially projected to hit.
Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines last week, where up to 10,000 people are feared dead in the storm’s wake.
“For the last few years, we’ve focused on helping families and children develop emergency preparedness plans. Yesterday, we saw families put those plans into action,” Duong says. World Vision staff worked alongside government counterparts in the lead-up to the storm, assisting to moving families to evacuation centres, providing families with food and water and sandbagging homes.
“We are in regular contact with local authorities and community leaders, providing them with the latest updates on the typhoon and all possible support to help poor families,” Duong says.
The storm is now travelling along the coast of Central Vietnam and is projected to make landfall in North Vietnam, south of Hanoi City on Monday.
Neighbouring Laos, which was also initially projected to be in the storm’s path, also is reporting little effects of the storm. As a precaution, World Vision staff continue to carefully track the situation.
World Vision works in 56 districts in Vietnam, supporting over 72,000 children in the sponsorships programme. In Laos, the organization works in 24 districts, supporting more than 40,000 children in the sponsorship programme.
“Children and the poor are the most vulnerable in tropical storms and typhoons,” says Ian Dawes, World Vision Laos Operations Director. “We continue to focus on families get through this storm and strengthen their resilience for future disasters.”