Equipped with disaster response knowledge

“My family and I knew that we should hide in a safe place when a storm hit,” says Le Thi Hong in the northern Thanh Hoa province.

“Now, I understand clearly what to do before, during and after a disaster, which helps to minimise human and material loss. I know how to adapt to climate change at household level also,” adds the 60-year-old woman from Quang Xuong district.

"Now, I understand clearly what to do before, during and after a disaster."

Hong’s husband passed away in 2002, leaving her as the breadwinner for five family members, including her small grandchild and her three disabled children. She also cares for her 86 year old mother-in-law and her husband’s two siblings who both have disabilities. Struggling with poverty, the elderly woman had no time to pay attention to disaster preparedness in her coastal homeland.


Hong with her family in front of her old house.

To equip people like Hong with the necessary knowledge and skills, World Vision has implemented Coastal Areas of Thanh Hoa Province Resilient to Natural Disasters (CATREND) in Quang Xuong and Hoang Hoa districts.

Hong participated in training courses on preparing for and responding to disasters and mitigating their impact. As a part of the activities, the local rapid response team showed her how to draft a household disaster risk reduction plan.

World Vision also supported her and other farmers to carry out livelihood models which are sustainable and adaptive to climate change. She learnt to make micro-organic fertiliser and received effective microorganism (EMIC) product and new rice variety for her cultivation. Such assistance has helped her lower production cost and increase the rice yield.  

“I harvested 350 kilos per sao (1 sao = 500sqm) in the recent winter-spring crop and didn’t use any pesticide,” she says. “The previous yield was 50-100 kilos lower. We sprayed pesticide three times during a crop, which was harmful to our health.”

Apart from the training, World Vision provided Hong with construction materials to build her new two-room house. “I could never dream of such a nice house since my husband died. With our old house, my children and grandchild all got wet during rainy days though we stayed inside. It broke my heart a lot,” she said without holding back her tears.

World Vision provided Hong with construction materials to build her new house.

At present, Hong is no longer the sole breadwinner. Her eldest son has found a job at a local brick yard. Their total income has afforded them rice for their meals as well as household items including a bed, fan, cooker and a bicycle for their daily life.

The CATREND project aims to reduce impact of natural disaster under climate change’s effects for communities in Thanh Hoa province. The project lasts from 2011 till 2016 and benefits more than 73,000 people in Quang Xuong and Hoang Hoa districts. It’s funded by the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Photos and Vietnamese text: Tong Van Tra