Mrs.Tran Thi Le lost her whole livelihood when the floods swept it all away.
Mrs. Tran Thi Le is a poor single small holder farmer with seven children living in Vinh Phong village Duc Linh commune, Vu Quang district, Ha Tinh province.
Mrs. Le has 1,500 m² of rice paddles and kept 100 chickens. Some days before the flood, she had just harvested the crop and collected 350kg of rice. She carefully stored it in the shed at the roof top of her house but when the flood came the waters rose quickly and before long her house was flooded 2metres deep with water.
All 350kg of rice and her belongings were swept away. She lost all her chickens, who drowned in the water, and all her seed. When asked what she needed in coming months, Mrs. Tran Thi Le sadly answered: “I lost everything. I only need rice for eating and seedling”.
I lost everything. I only need rice for eating and seedling.
Le, 58, had no one to help her as the waters engulfed her house, as she lives all alone. Her husband died over 10 years ago, and though she has seven children, they have all either married, moved away for work or are at college.
Completely surrounded by turbulent water, Le was unable to escape the structure she used to call home. As the waters rose, she was forced to climb up to the roof and was trapped there for two days until the rescue team could approach the house and help her evacuate. The rescue team are part of the DIPECHO II Project - “Building resilience of vulnerable communities living in disaster prone communities”, first implemented in September 2008 and part funded by ActionAid.
Though Le was devastated to lose her home and belongings, her rice was of most value to her. The loss of rice meant she lost her food source and the seed for next year’s crop - her only means of earning a living. Moreover, she is still in debt of the bank with a loan of 60 VND million (equivalent to about GBP 2,000), in which 30 million VND is for her 2 children to study at college and 30 million VND is for chicken breeding.
ActionAid Vietnam were able to give women such as Le urgent food handouts after the flood, but with her entire livelihood gone, Le will struggle to ever repay these loans, and needs additional help to restart growing rice on her land.