Fund for flood-hit central region prospering

Eight months after the Central Natural Disaster Relief Fund was launched, Sai Gon Giai Phong spoke with fund Chairman and Politburo member Phan Dien about how the fund is working.

 
Residents collect wood after a flood hit the central region in 2009. Thanks to the Central Natural Disaster Relief Fund, more projects are being instigated to prevent and mitigate storm damage. (Photo: SGGP)

Established on September 24, 2008, the project officially came into effect in April 2009 with organizers calling on donations for the central region to prevent storms and floods and minimize damage caused by natural disasters.

The fund is a non-governmental and non-profit organization licensed by the Ministry of Home Affairs with five initial members including Phan Van Qui, chairman of Thai Binh Duong (Pacific Ocean) Group and Ho Huy, chairman and general director of Mai Linh Group.

It is directed by Nguyen Dang Lam, former chairman of the Quang Nam Province People’s Committee.

The fund operates mainly by organizing projects and then calling for sponsorship. After working with 14 provinces and cities in the central region, the fund now has a list of 400 places where flood-safe houses are needed.

The fund is first calling for the financing of 32 houses in the worst flood-hit areas. Forest growth-promotion projects are also being drawn up.

Speaking about the achievements of the project after eight months of operation, Mr. Dien said to date, the fund has mobilized over VND14.5 billion (US$784,000). It has also assisted provinces in building nine flood-safe houses worth VND17.5 billion.

Two out of the nine houses are now complete – one is a cultural house in Hoa Vang District, Danang City, and the other is located in Hai Lang District, Quang Tri Province.

The seven remaining houses will be completed during the first quarter this year.

In addition, Mr. Dien said fund organizers are working with provinces to set up coastal protection forest projects in Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh provinces.

In 2010, fund officials will also coordinate with central and local flood and storm prevention committees to offer training courses for residents to prevent and cope with natural disasters.

Besides calling on sponsors for specific projects, fund organizers will hold press conferences in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City this month.

The fund has also worked with the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations to seek assistance and introduce the fund to foreign countries and overseas Vietnamese.

In the future, the fund will publicize an address so that donations can be sent by anyone.

For businesses, the Ministry of Finance will issue donors a receipt so they can deduct them for tax purposes.

Names of companies will be also be publicized and the fund will report on the progress of projects to sponsors.

To limit damage caused by storms and floods, Mr. Dien said that for its part, the State should pay more attention to climate change, environmental pollution and natural disasters to create suitable policies for sustainable development.

Mr. Dien added that through SGGP, fund organizers send their gratitude to all donors who have helped carry out projects.

By Chien Dung – Translated by Hai Mien

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