Bodies of the deaths brought back home
On the morning of May 21 in the city of Da Nang, Viet Nam's National Search and Rescue Center had a meeting with representatives from Central Viet Nam areas and the Border Guard Forces (BGF), Zone 3 of the Navy, to discuss urgent measures to cope with Typhoon #1 (or Chanchu). Official sources from the meeting say 18 ships have so far sunk or got missing, victimizing 287 fishermen, including 113 dead or missing.
|Fishermen's relatives in Quang Nam wait for their news (VietNamNet Photo)|
Brigadier General Tran Hoa, BGF Deputy Commander-in-chief and Standing Member of the National Search and Rescue Committee says, "Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a fourth state letter to China and Taiwan to request emergency help with oil, food and dead-body preservatives, and we received positive and energetic response."
Currently, China has made it possible for Vietnam's fishermen to land on Tungsha Island, and Taiwan has sent a ship to the scene to provide help for the victims. Reportedly, the fishermen have already been supplied with oil and a lot of food and medicine.
According to Da Nang BGF headquarters, besides the ships Đna-90189 and Đna-90345 carrying bodies of the deaths, Đna-90090 also received from China's rescuers one person [alive] and three dead bodies. So these three ships have save the lives of 57 people and found 21 bodies, then handing over 4 live victims right at sea and one body of a dead fisherman from Binh Dinh province to the Binh Dinh rescuers. The ships are on their way ashore, carrying 6 people alive (of the rescued 57) and 17 bodies.
The Flood and Storm Prevention Steering Committee and the Da Nang Border Guard Forces are keeping regular contact with the three ships. At 5 o'clock of May 21, the ships were sailing at 19o35 North - 115o10 East. However, the sea was thickly foggy and highly rough, so the ships will be able to reach the shore of Da Nang only after three more days at the soonest.
News from the said meeting also comes in that three other ships of the Navy High Command have set off to support the rescuers. The National Search and Rescue Committee has sent two more ships expected to set off to the rescue area at noon May 21.
Right on the morning of May 21, Deputy Minister of Fisheries Nguyen Viet Thang met with leaders of Da Nang City and Thanh Khe district to talk about measures to help the victims. He said preliminary estimation shows the highest number of sunken ships of Da Nang and the largest casualties and missing records of Quang Nam province. These are really serious losses on the part of the victims' families and the Central Region's Fisheries.
The Deputy Minister suggested that the local authorities and fisheris focus on assuring the public, especially the victims' families, making haste in collecting information of the rescue situation to make timely notification to the affected families, and thoroughly organizing the reception of the deaths. Mr. Thang added that the Ministry of Fisheries will report the situation to the Central Government for further support.
|Seamen on Chinese rescue ship Nanhaijiu 111 rescue Vietnamese fishermen in the sea areas of the Dongsha Islands, in the South China Sea on May 20, 2006 (Xinhua Photo)|
China's ships have saved the lives of Vietnamese fishermen
Meanwhile, this morning (May 21), China's television CCTV4 released information about its rescue ships saving the lives of Vietnamese fishermen. This is seen as China's biggest ever international rescue event.
According to China's television report, at 5p.m. May 19, China Maritime Search and Rescue Center (China's Ministry of Communications) received diplomatic notes calling for help from Vietnam saying that about 32 fishing boats of Vietnam were stuck in the waters of Taiwan-China due to the tropical storm Chanchu. Hundreds of Vietnamese fishermen were fighting day and night against the violent sea storms.
In the order of China Maritime Search and Rescue Center, the high-capacity rescue ship Nanhai 111 set off immediately carrying food, fresh water, medicine, and fuel heading to the sea area where Vietnamese fishermen were reported to fight the disaster.
In ceaseless efforts, China's rescuers took every minute to look for the missing and provide food and water for the found victims. The Chinese rescuers have so far saved the lives of over 330 Vietnamese fishermen.
At the moment, the figures reported by CCTV4 have not yet been confirmed by Vietnam's authorities. Mr. Nguyen Ba Luong, Chief of Operation of Da Nang Border Guard Forces says, "We were reported that China's ships has provided the Dna-90152 of Ngo Van Quy with 600 liters of oil and are refueling other ships. At 21o North - 117o21 East, China's rescue ship IMO 9379466 has also just supplied fuel, food, and dead-body preservatives for the Dna-90189. . ."
According to what we have just been informed of, the Nanhai 111 is carrying 92 people and 6 bodies ashore. In the meantime, 4 ships from Central Vietnam, including 2 ships from Da Nang, 1 ship from Quang Ngai and 1 ship from Binh Dinh are heading ashore. The closest from land is the Dna-9012 of Nguyen Van Tien in Da Nang, about 500 km away, carrying 50 people, including 48 alive and 2 bodies. At the moment, the ship has only 300 liters of oil left. But what a happy sign that the rescue ships of Zone 3 of the Navy has been able to get contact with the ship and will refuel it by noon today (May 21) and help carry the victims home. On the other hand, at the meeting early May 21, Da Nang Border Guard Forces Command reports, "At 16:05 May 20, our fishermen comtemporarily at 20o42North - 116o46 East were driven away by Taiwanese armed ships. At the moment, those fishermen have been forced about 3 nautical miles from the area. The fishermen have appealed to the Vietnamese Government's intervention so that that they could be permitted to stay in the area for 2 - 3 more days to remedy the aftermaths of the storm."