Central Vietnam residents, namely homeowners, repair technicians, and coffee shop owners, are helping aid missions reach their destination safe and sound as a way to pay tribute in the wake of devastating floods this month.
As prolonged flooding has wreaked havoc on central Vietnam in the past two weeks, droves of trucks outfitted with philanthropic statements are heading there with aid packages.
As concerns of lodging and catering for these aid mission emerge, local resident Le Huu Thao from Yen Hoa Commune, Cam Xuyen District, Ha Tinh Province has stepped up to organize free services for the benefactors.
“I myself have joined many charity trips to aid flood-hit residential areas such as Huong Khe, Vu Quang, Huong Son, Duc Tho [Districts of Ha Tinh Province] before," Thao told the story that inspired his initiative, which received immense support from people in his commune.
"During those trips, the charity groups had to travel great lengths to find dining places."
As Yen Hoa did not face flooding as harsh as neighboring Cam Due, Cam Vinh or Cam Thanh Commune did, a makeshift kitchen was quickly set up at the home of the commune's leader Nguyen Thi Duong to prepare food for aid missions working in the locale.
It operates on manpower and food donations from local farmers.
By midday, a cohort of 20 benefactors arrived at the makeshift eatery after their charity work in flood-hit Tan Ky District of Nghe An Province.
“[We only served] a meager lunch with blanched veggies and fried eggs, yet everyone felt joyful," Duong said.
Pham Cao Hanh, leader of the charity mission in Tan Ky District, did not expect to enjoy well-prepared meals from the locals on his trip.
“I thoroughly appreciate the magnanimous gesture from the people in flood-struck areas,” he said.
Other people in Ha Tinh also used their means to take care of the charitable patrons.
Nguyen Hang Nga, a 36-year-old in Van Yen Ward of Ha Tinh City – the capital of the namesake province – hangs a sign that says, “Cordially welcoming all charity groups with no charge,” in front of her coffee shop, which is still strewn with rubble from the floods.
Suffering from property damage themselves, Nga and her husbands did not hesitate to clean up and offer their place as a stop for benefactors on charitable journeys.
“We treasure the goodwill of people from other provinces to help [local] residents overcome the flood's consequences, which is why we wish to contribute and return the favor,” Nga said.
Paying it forward
These days saw the bike repair shop of Tran Van Binh in Cam Vinh Commune of Cam Xuyen District crowded with locals looking to get their bikes repaired in the aftermath of the floods.
After each vehicle is cleaned, the repair crew at Binh’s shop will check it, tidy its spark plug, and change its oil – all for free.
|Free bike repair service is offered at a repair shop in Ha Tinh Province. Photo: Doan Hoa / Tuoi Tre|
Binh recounted seeing many households and their bikes stuck in floodwaters in the past few days, which motivated him to use his expertise in repairing bikes to alleviate the post-flood burden on the community.
The shop owner and his crew were joined by over 30 other technicians from other parts of Ha Tinh Province to become a traveling repair team touring inundated areas to provide free service.
Arriving from 100 kilometers away, 47-year-old Nguyen Khac Niem from Duc Huong Commune of Vu Quang District volunteers as part of the repair team.
“Through the media, I was informed that people in flooded areas are suffering huge losses of possessions. Since I can’t contribute [money], I chose to devote my work to helping them,” he said.
Tran Quoc Toan, chairman of the Tran Phu Ward People’s Committee under Ha Tinh City, revealed that various hotels and motels in the area have welcome affected residents to take shelter and dine for free, which was of great help to authorities' effort in assisting flood-hit communities.
“Their room was priced at VND400,000-800,000 [US$17-35] per day, yet they opened their doors for locals to stay for free," Toan elaborated.
"Despite their own hardship after the COVID-19 pandemic, these hotels also offered 50 percent discounts to benefactors on aid missions in Ha Tinh."