A 12-year-old girl in the south-central Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan is in critical condition after she was burned with petrol by her mom earlier this week.
Nguyen Thi Kim Linh used to sell lottery tickets to help her mother, Truong Thi Vy, 35, make ends meet, as the mother has to raise three children on her own following the death of her husband last year.
On Monday afternoon, Linh came home with five unsold tickets and a VND400,000 (US$17.86) debt with the lottery agent, Vy recalled, speaking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday.
The mother asked her second child why she was unable to sell the tickets, but the 12-year-old stayed silent, which made Vy “lose my temper, and my mind,” she admitted.
Vy then asked her youngest daughter, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, to buy some petrol, which she later splashed on Linh before setting her on fire.
The burning girl then rushed to hug her mother in what appeared to be an instinctive reaction to her pain. Vy thus also suffered burns, but they were far less serious than her daughter.
Nguyen Ngoc Ly, a neighbor of Vy, saw the two on fire and immediately rushed to help them with water. Other local residents then took the burned mother and daughter to hospital.
While the burns only cover around 10 percent of Vy’s body, the rate for Linh is as high as 38 percent, or third-degree burns.
Vy is being treated at a local hospital in Bac Binh District, where the family lives, whereas Linh was admitted to the Ho Chi Minh City children’s hospital on Tuesday, with her chest, back, hands and legs severely burned.
The victim is now in the isolation unit and has survived the burn shock, doctors said Wednesday.
It is uncertain whether Linh can be saved but doctors are trying their best, they added.
The oldest son of Vy is Nguyen Duy Khanh, 13, who has to tend cattle to help his mother. The youngest daughter is the only one among the siblings to be allowed to go to school.
The mother herself earns a livelihood by doing whatever people hire her to do. Vy also expressed remorse for hurting the child.
Le Van Long, chairman of the Bac Binh District administration, said local police are handling the case.