HFH Vietnam, ExxonMobil Dedicate Five Houses In Quang Nam Province For Typhoon-Hit Families

Larger Habitat Project Includes Training At Least 600 Local People To Protect Themselves And Property From Future Disasters, Construction Of Another 15 Houses And Renovation Of 184 Homes

QUANG NAM, 3rd August 2010: Habitat for Humanity Vietnam and its partner ExxonMobil have handed over five houses to families affected by last September’s Typhoon Ketsana.

Phan Van Hai and his family used to live in a thatched house until Typhoon Ketsana blew off half the roof. His Habitat house (above) offers more protection against disasters. Photos: Pham Minh Hoa/HFH Vietnam.

Phan Thi Hoe (left) breaking ground to mark the start of HFH Vietnam’s community-based disaster mitigation project in Hiep Duc.

With a solid Habitat home, Phan Van Hai can concentrate on improving his family’s life.

Earlier, ExxonMobil had contributed funding to HFH Vietnam’s project to provide roofing repairs for more than 600 families who were hit by the typhoon in Quang Nam province, central Vietnam.

The five houses in Hiep Duc district, Quang Nam, were completed under the first phase of a larger Habitat project.

The project included the training of at least 600 local people in community-based disaster risk management in Hiep Duc. Among the people to be trained are students aged between 12 and 14 who will be taught how to protect themselves and their property from natural disasters.

“Various departments, agencies and organizations such as the Red Cross, Women’s Union and Youth Union will be invited to attend ‘training of trainers’. After they have completed the training they will in turn train community members to implement disaster management activities,” said Nguyen Thi Yen, head of HFH Vietnam’s disaster management team.

Eventually, about 63,000 community members stand to benefit from information disseminated about disaster mitigation measures as well as public education and media publicity.

Another 600 local construction workers in Hiep Duc will also learn how to build or renovate houses to be resistant to disasters.

Other than ExxonMobil, supporters included the United Nations Development Program, Holcim (Vietnam) cement company, Schneider Electric and Hiep Duc People’s Committee.

HFH Vietnam has begun a second phase since June 2010. Another 15 new houses will be built and 184 existing homes renovated over a two-year period.

The second phase is also being supported by Habitat’s San Francisco affiliate in California. It is aimed at low-income families whether or not their homes had been affected by natural disasters.

Phan Van Hai is among the five families who now have solid and secure homes in Hiep Duc district. His wife Huong has been confined to bed for several years because of osteoporosis.

Together with their three sons, they lived in a thatched bamboo house without proper windows or a door. Their old house, located on a hill, was exposed to the elements and had to be repaired annually due to heavy rains or disasters such as typhoons.

In September 2009, the force of Typhoon Ketsana tore off half the roof of Hai’s house and much of its thatch walls.

Early this year, Hai was able to start building his Habitat house on a lower-lying area. To strengthen the house, HFH Vietnam constructed a brick roof which provided greater resistance against strong winds compared to the metal sheet roof of Hai’s old house.

Hai can now focus on providing for his family. “I need not worry about the wind, the rain or anything else anymore,” he said. Marking a better future, Hai and his neighbors who started digging a new well during the summer drought finally found signs of water.