Life Life

21/10/2020 - 08:29

What jotted down in flood navel

Only when you reach the flood navels in Huong Thuy, Quang Dien, Phong Dien ... can you see how small the humans are in the face of the fury of nature. However, the timely support and mutual protection have warmed the people’s heart in the flood navel.

Dien Huong Commune People's Committee provided relief for the people during the flood. Photo: Tran Cu

Suu, about 30, with a stature like a high school student threw his life jacket to me and said, “Put it on, then I row you. It is dangerous for you to wade in rising water.

Suu's full name is Le Nguyen Suu, from Thuy Thanh (Huong Thuy Town). He is starting a home-based community tourism model with a vegetable garden, fruit truss, water treadle, about a hundred chickens and ducks together with the rowing service to experience the rhythm of village life on the Nhu Y River.

In reality, for Suu, rowing a boat also resembles somebody riding a bicycle or a motorbike on flat land.

However, the rower felt strenuous in the unexpected and torrential rain. The fierce wind swept overhead. The towering bamboo tops that were partly submerged in the water bounced, sounding as if someone was whipping.

Then the boat refused to cleave through the water and kept turning round, but Suu still tried his hardest to push the boat out of the swirling water with the long pole. “Now it's bad to come back, but it's also hard to keep moving. Calm down! Let me handle it,” said Suu with the voice broken in the wind.

Silently moving in the rain and wind for about half an hour, the boat finally reached the 2-storey house about 1km from the People's Committee of Thuy Thanh Commune. The simple reason to reach there was to help the visitor find a high place to capture the panoramic image of Thuy Thanh sinking in water. And Suu, at that time, could barely hold the fence to breathe and no longer had strength to get off the boat to wade into the house for a cup of hot tea from the host...

On the way back, when the rain stopped temporarily, waving the oar, Suu said of course, the property could be damaged in such flooding, but there was no hunger or human losses.

Most people have rice and instant noodles. If short of those, they can row to the grocery store to buy. As for food, almost everyone here also has a few chickens and ducks in the garden, or they can cast fishing net. Even you just say a word, the neighbor is ready to share food for you to survive until the water falls,” Suu said.

We thought that Suu measured another’s corn by his own bushel because although the vegetable garden is flooded with water, the gourd truss and ten papayas are laden with fruits in the garden, apart from hundreds of chickens. However, going from Suu’s house to the People's Committee of Thuy Thanh Commune, together with the on-duty force to the critical points, we found that Suu's judgment was not wrong.

“Two days ago, hearing of the authorities' announcement, we stored up instant noodles, rice and fresh water and found a higher place to put them. If the water goes up, we will phone to ask you to take us to the hamlet cultural house,” said Mr. Bach, Van The Thuong Hamlet when Thuy Thanh Commune on-duty force came to enquire about the situation.

Behind Van The Thuong Hamlet, 2 motor-powered boats continued to Lang Xa Bau Hamlet Cultural House, where 4 households were relocated to.

“I don't know how my house is flooded; the whole family was moved here. Here, the rooms are clean, comfortable and, importantly, high and dry, so it's very reassuring. Obviously, floods cause the material damage. It is important that my family and I are safe and sound,” said Mr. Le Van Tot.

No sooner had the on-duty force of Thuy Thanh Commune finished their dinner than water flooded the hall. Chairman of the Commune People's Committee Tran Duy Viet reminded, "Tonight, we shall spend a wakeful night watching the water level, you guys."

Going in and out till midnight, after assigning the group to stay awake and the group to sleep for regaining strength, Chairman of the People's Committee of Thuy Thanh Commune summarized, “After the 1999 historical flood, the local people’s awareness and proactiveness in response to natural calamity is heightened,so I believe that except for property, there will be no human losses.”

Huong Thuy Town Police coordinated with the local forces in rescuing an old man stuck by rising water on the afternoon of October 12. Photo: Han Dang 

According to the preliminary statistics, Thuy Thanh and Thuy Van had more than 17 thousand pots of chrysanthemum inundated. These flowers were prepared for the Lunar New Year.

“Flooded with white water, chrysanthemums will be removed. If surviving, they will be stunted and will not flower. Despite the method for chrysanthemums to bloom, the stalks and flowers are feeble. These chrysanthemums are unsaleable and cannot be displayed on Tet holidays. Also, there are only a few months left before Tet; it’s too late to replant,” said Nguyen Dac Mui, a commune official.

After a night of restless sleep together with the water level, opening my eyes, I saw the water at the commune committee yard at my belly level. It was also the time when Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of the province Nguyen Nam Tien and the relief team came to encourage and offer gifts to the people in need.

The town leaders also urgently organized the two groups to the heavily-hit places:  Dua Hamlet, Hoa Phong Village (Thuy Tan Commune) and two communes of Thuy Thanh and Thuy Van. The the cartons of instant noodles reached the people in need in a timely way.

“Regarding property damage, apart from flooded objects, the most worrying is the fish cages. The people do not risk going to the river to save the fish at this time, just wait for the water to fall. Living people will generate wealth." Mr. Nguyen Thanh Minh, Chairman of Huong Thuy Town People's Committee said before saying goodbye to the households in the hamlets of Hoa Phong and Dua.

In Thuy Thanh Commune, Mr. Nguyen Dac Tap, Vice Chairman of Huong Thuy Town said to the on-duty force, “I praise you for promptly taking 2 pregnant women to Hue Central Hospital and supporting the people in evacuation to the safe place in the past few days. At this time, communications must be continuously connected in anticipation of the emergency call from the people…”

In the muddy water color, from a distance, Quang Phu Commune looked like an oasis of Quang Dien District. Even so, when approaching, we found that there was another oasis in the oasis - Xuan Tuy Hamlet.

That is to say, in the past days, more than 400 households in Xuan Tuy were completely separated. The tallest house was flooded over 1.5m while the shortest one, from 1.8m to over 2m.

Once flooded, the communes of Phong Hoa, Phong Binh are the heavily–hit places of Phong Dien District. And when surrounded with water, most of the people here seem isolated from the outside.

Despite boats, in the face of strong wind and incessant, torrential rain, apart from some people who evacuated to the safe place, the rest only knew to sit with arms clasping their knees at the high places, overlooking the immense water.

Vice Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Phan Thien Dinh visited and offered the support gifts to the flooded people in Phu Vang on the afternoon of October 12. Photo: N.M

Then in Huong Tra, Phu Vang, Phu Loc, Phong Dien ... everywhere, it can be seen that people struggled miserably against natural disasters. Happily, during and after the flood, at some places whose water level was higher than the 1999 great flood, there was almost no shortage of food, and certainly, no one died of starvation.

However, the undesirable sufferings still happened. Both the mother and her unborn child died due to the floodwater on the way to the hospital because the small boat could not survive the whirlpool. Many dead and missing cases related to landslides were caused by rainstorms at Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant...

Only at that time could we see that humans were so tiny, feeble in the fury of "Mother Nature".

When this article is in print, storms and floods are developing in a complicated and unpredictable way. The damage has been seen, but at the same time the lessons drawn are never old.

And in misfortune, the timely support and guidance from the authorities, the initiative from the people, the sentiment and enthusiasm of the on-duty force as well as the spirit of mutual support in the struggle against natural disasters have brought warmth and confidence to the people in the flood navel.

By Han Đang

Share