Vietnam Red Cross offers urgent aid for flood victims

In a meeting with the press in Hanoi on August 9 before ending his term of office in Vietnam, the outgoing American Ambassador Michael W. Marine said, “I do not accept the term ‘victims of Agent Orange’. The US humanitarian assistance to ‘the disabled in Vietnam is not based on evaluation of causes of disability.” Mr. Marine’s statement aggravated the pain of many generations of millions of Vietnamese people, who are victims of Agent Orange/dioxin sprayed by the US army over southern Vietnam. It is regrettable that the out-going diplomat made that comment, ignoring the fact that more than 4.8 million Vietnamese people had been exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin, and three million of them including many children eventually became direct victims. Tens of thousand of them are mentally and physically sick because of incurable illnesses. Many have died in extreme agony. The toxic chemicals affect even the 2nd and 3rd generations of those victims, many with inborn defects.The father of Nguyen Muoi served the US army and was exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin. Nguyen Muoi is now suffering from spina bifida, an effect of the toxic chemical. Muoi was very disappointed at Michael Marine’s statement. He said, “The US ambassador denied the fact and refused to accept the consequences. If he were not in Vietnam, his words might be accepted. But he was in Vietnam and saw the serious health problems of Agent Orange/dioxin victims and still made that comment. Where is his conscience? The US government acknowledged and compensated AO/dioxin…... [read more]

The event was in response to Blood Donation Day (April 7). Addressing the ceremony, the Chairman of the Vietnam Red Cross Society, Tran Ngoc Tang, called on people to voluntarily donate blood and raise the amount of collected blood to about 615,000 units in 2009. He said that Vietnam’s blood donation movement, which began in 1994, has received special care from the Party and State leaders. Previously, the donors were mainly students from colleges and vocational schools but they now include workers, civil servants and many other social groups. A number of well-known people joined the programme, including Dau Thi Hong Phuc, who won the title Miss Congeniality in the 2008 National Beauty Contest and Nguyen Duy Canh, who has donated blood 21 times.... [read more]

The campaign attracted the participation of more than 1,000 volunteers and members of the Vietnam Red Cross Society, students from colleges and universities in Hanoi as well as representatives from Red Cross associations from 10 northern cities and provinces and international health organisations in Hanoi. President of the Vietnam Red Cross Society Tran Ngoc Tang said that the Society has provided training courses on disseminating information on the epidemic to southern provinces, border provinces and various areas in Hanoi. The Society has also encouraged young people and volunteers to participate in disseminating information on the A/H1N1 flu to raise public awareness about the disease and co-ordinate with relevant agencies to take preventive measures to cope with a possible pandemic. Deputy head of the Preventive Health Department Nguyen Van Binh warned that the A/H1N1 flu has spread to 74 nations and territories in the world with more than 27,000 cases of infection resulting in 139 deaths. Around 25 cases of H1N1 flu had been reported in Vietnam as of June 12 and the number of cases is increasing every day.... [read more]

The festival attracted more than 4,000 volunteer campaigners and nearly 2,000 participants who have registered to donate their blood. Event organisers – the Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Red Cross – expect to collect between 800-1,000 units to partly deal with blood shortages in early summer. The Vietnam Red Cross presented certificates of merit to 59 volunteers who have encouraged the people to engage in blood donation campaigns. Pham Thi Binh, a student in Hanoi, said that she was happy that her blood might help save the life of someone she will never meet. She called on Vietnamese people to participate in similar campaigns to save others in dire need of blood. More than 1 million people have responded to the humanitarian campaign since it was launched in Vietnam in 1994. Many donors are considered as life-saving heroes, including Nguyen Huu Thuan from HCM City who has donated more than 90 times, or many family members of Nguyen Phuoc Buu Thanh in Thua Thien-Hue and Le Dinh Duat in Hanoi. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of blood donors in Vietnam has increased significantly since 1994. However, just over 30 percent of them have donated blood regularly, 90 percent of the donated blood has been collected from cities, and 80 percent of the donors are aged under 35. The donated blood has only met 40 percent of the volume required. WHO statistics show that every day Vietnam needs approximately 5,000 blood units while blood banks only…... [read more]

Twenty-six people are reported to have died and many are missing in the floods and landslides. Hundreds of houses have been destroyed, thousands of hectares of crops swept away and nine bridges destroyed. A total of 11 people who were carried away by floodwaters or covered by mud and debris from landslides have been rescued. The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasts has warned that heavy rains may keep battering the northern region. It said water levels in the Da, Lo, Thai Binh, Nam Na, Nam Mu and Nam So rivers were expected to rise by up to 3m in the next two days. Many irrigated fields have been flooded and long sections of roads washed away, according to the Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control. More than 2,000 people have been evacuated from high-risk landslide areas in the provinces of Yen Bai, Bac Kan and Lai Chau. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on July 6 asked relevant agencies to help local people in the northern mountainous provinces. He said the people’s committees in the mountainous provinces and cities of Bac Kan, Ha Giang, Son La, Cao Bang, Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Lao Cai should mobilize all forces in the search for missing people, to take care of the injured and re-establish links with isolated areas so that people can be evacuated, treated or supplied with food and water. The once isolated districts of Pac Nam and Ba Be in Bac Kan province, Mu Cang Chai in Yen…... [read more]

Speaking at the meeting, chairman of Vietnam Red Cross Society Tran Ngoc Tang said that humankind has to face continuous natural disasters and epidemics that threaten people’s lives around the world. Cooperation is, therefore, an essential need for humankind to deal with those disasters and epidemics. Tang also confirmed the 4 purposes of the meeting. They include planning a scheme to deal with epidemics in human with the cooperation of other national Red Cross societies , the national Red Crescent societies, governmental and non-governmental oganisations in Asia; promoting the planning of the scheme at national level; jointly holding training programmes which have been globally standardised; and establishing an information exchange network to prepare better for global epidemics. The meeting also attracted the participation of the Deputy Minister of Health, Tran Chi Liem, ambassador to Vietnam, Michael Michalak, representatives from several NGOs, and hundreds of delegates from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and Nepal. The meeting will last until September 16.... [read more]

The “Humanitarian Pandemic Preparedness” (H2P) initiative, designed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is expected to be carried out from August, 2009 to July, 2010. Speaking at a regional conference held in Hanoi on September 16 on efforts to cope with flu epidemics among people, Chairman of the Vietnam Red Cross Bui Ngoc Tang said the H2P project will focus on the fields of health care, food safety and livelihood at the community-level. The project’s activities will support efforts by relevant governmental agencies, humanitarian organisations, civil societies, and non-governmental organisations to map out their plans to combat the pandemic. The Vietnam Red Cross also called on international and non-governmental organisations and Vietnamese partners to support it in deploying the project. The H2P with assistance from the US Agency for International Development has been implemented in 20 countries worldwide, which are in danger of being hit hard by the pandemic. Also on September 16, the Ministry of Health urged the Ministry of Science and Technology to speed up the tempo of research into A/H1N1 vaccine and asked the National Steering Board on Flu Prevention in Humans to provide enough Tamiflu for cities and provinces, hardest hit by the A/H1N1 flu. Vietnam confirmed 144 more cases positive for the A/H1N1 influenza on September 16, raising the total number in the country to 5,648 with six deaths. The new cases include 65 in the South, 37 in the North, 29 in the central region and 13 in the…... [read more]

Under a grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VNRC) will develop a pandemic influenza preparedness and response plan and provide training for civil society organizations active in the country. The one-year project carried out in partnership with national authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will enhance Vietnam’s ability to respond to community needs in an influenza pandemic in areas of health, food security and livelihoods in Vietnam. Central to the project is support for effective coordination between governmental and United Nations agencies, mass organizations, and NGOs. Since 2005, the US Government has provided more than US$33.5 million to support Vietnam’s programs to combat avian and pandemic influenza. Related USAID activities include joint cross border pandemic exercises with China and Laos, support to develop and improve provincial pandemic preparedness plans, training of animal health workers and veterinarians, public communication campaigns, and journalist training in H1N1 prevention and control measures.... [read more]

The figures were released at a meeting held in Hanoi on September 19 to review the four-month campaign launched in 60 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide in May by the Vietnam Red Cross. The campaign attracted more than 6,000 volunteers, who assisted in promoting humanitarian blood donation, and set up more than 180 clubs of volunteers. In the campaign, donators came from many social groups such as state staff, police officers and self-defence force members. The Chairman of the Vietnam Red Cross, Tran Ngoc Tang, said the amount of donated blood has met only nearly 40 percent of the demand for medical emergencies and treatment.... [read more]

At a working session with these agencies in Hanoi on September 24, Ms Doan said the Party and State have already developed many policies to improve the lives of AO victims, but that there are snags in these policies at grassroots level that must be ironed out soon. Ms Doan asked the Ministry of Health to set up criteria for identifying victims so that it can calculate the exact number of people who have been exposed to and affected by the toxic chemicals. The ministry must complete a list of illnesses victims have suffered as a consequence of exposure to the chemicals. The Vice President proposed that the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs issue a document guiding cities and provinces in implementing the current policies and also make recommendations to the Government for revising a number of policies. She also asked the Vietnam Red Cross Society and the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) to work closely together to provide the best possible services to the victims. According to VAVA, Vietnam now has 4.8 million AO victims, including those who fought in the Vietnam War and those who have since lived in AO-contaminated areas. Every year, the State spends approximately VND800 billion providing medical check-ups and assisting AO victims.... [read more]

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