VIETNAM LAOS CARE emergency teams brace for typhoon Ketsana

 Laos, Vietnam
 Emergency Response
 28th Sep 2009

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (September 28, 2009) – CARE emergency teams in Vietnam and Laos are preparing to respond as the deadly Typhoon Ketsana continues its path towards mainland Asia. The typhoon, which killed 140 people and left more than 150,000 homeless in the Philippines over the weekend, is expected to make landfall in Vietnam and Laos tomorrow morning local time.

In the Philippines, Typhoon Ketsana dumped about 410 mm of rain in less than 24 hours, about the average amount of rainfall for an entire month, causing flash floods and washing away homes and destroying crops.

“For poor rural communities along the coast, a storm of this magnitude could have a devastating effect,” said Jonathan Mitchell, CARE International’s Emergency Response Director. “We need only to look to the Philippines to know what impact a typhoon like this can have. CARE has been working with local communities to help them prepare for floods and storms, but if Typhoon Ketsana hits Vietnam at its current strength, people are going to urgently need help. The coastline is almost totally flat, which means a storm surge could reach far inland and cause massive destruction.”

CARE staff in Vietnam and Laos are coordinating with donors, government agencies and other aid organizations to prepare for the storm. CARE has more than 60 years of experience providing emergency assistance in South-East Asia, and is ready to respond as needed through interventions such as the distribution of food, emergency supplies, temporary shelter and water purification.

Both Vietnam and Laos are affected by seasonal disasters such as tropical storms and floods that can have an overwhelming impact on poor rural communities. CARE has implemented disaster management projects in remote areas, to help communities understand and plan for potential disastrous events. In Vietnam, for example, CARE is helping communities plant forests of mangrove trees to protect dykes in exposed areas and restore the environment’s natural resilience to storms.

About CARE: CARE is one of the world’s largest aid agencies, working in 70 countries to fight poverty and helping more than 55 million people every year. CARE started working in Vietnam in 1945 and in Laos in 1954, and implements programs in food and livelihood security, disaster risk reduction, emergency response, health, water and sanitation, climate change adaptation, demining, and health. For more information, visit www.care-international.org.

Media contacts:
Melanie Brooks (in Geneva), +41 79 590 30 47, brooks@careinternational.org

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