Typhoon Ketsana Pounds Vietnam

Typhoon Ketsana, which left more than 200 people dead in the Philippines, roared into Vietnam on Tuesday killing more than 20 people there, according to disaster officials. Catholic Relief Services responded by immediately providing lifejackets to children in the most heavily-flooded areas, followed by visits to heavily-damaged towns and villages to determine what the most pressing needs are.

Andrew Wells-Dang, CRS country representative in Vietnam, said “CRS has a strong education presence in Vietnam. Long before Typhoon Ketsana, our partners in two locations had already asked us to provide lifejackets for children in case of an emergency. We were already processing this request when Typhoon Ketsana started heading our way. Given the approaching storm, we went ahead and shipped the lifejackets as an initial step. We’ll now work with our partners to look closely at what the needs are in the towns and villages hardest-hit by flooding and strong winds.”

“Fortunately,” continued Wells-Dang, “the typhoon hit a few weeks after the rice harvest, so crops are in pretty good shape. But many people have lost the roofs off their houses, or their entire houses in some cases.”

Catholic Relief Services may also provide basic shelter and help with other immediate needs, with additional focus on long-term needs of the people hardest hit by the typhoon.

Ketsana hit the main island of Luzon in the Philippines on September 26, flooding the capital of Manila and surrounding areas after dumping a month’s worth of rain in a 12-hour period.

Meanwhile, forecasters said a new storm forming in the Pacific Ocean was likely to enter Philippine waters and make landfall later this week.

– Reported by Liz O’Neill, CRS communications officer

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