Caring for my visually impaired children during floods

A real story from a poor family affected by the historical flood in Quang Binh

Chu Huu Trang, Communication for Development Specialist
Caring for my visually impaired children during floods
UNICEF Viet Nam\Truong Viet Hung
29 October 2020

Phu Tho village, Quang Binh province, Viet Nam, 27th October 2020 “My house was destroyed by the storm, but my most pressing concern at the moment is how to send my child with visual impairment to the specialized care center in Da Nang city”, said Chau Thi Hoa, a 30-year old mother of 3 children. Two of her children – a 5-year old son and a 6-month old daughter – have congenital visual impairment. “I make a living with my small hair salon adjacent to my one-room apartment which were by the strong wind and waves during the floods. The main room flooded and all furniture and appliances were swept away. Luckily for me and my family we were able to take shelter just in time in my neighbor’s house made of concrete.”, Hoa added.

 

Mr Chu Huu Trang, UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist, talks to Mr Duong Van Nam and his 5-years-old visual impaired son
UNICEF Viet Nam\Truong Viet Hung
Mr Chu Huu Trang, UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist, talks to Mr Duong Van Nam and his 5-years-old visual impaired son
Phuc loves to play with his sister, he often asks his mom to put his 6-months-old sister on his shoulder for the riding house game.
UNICEF Viet Nam\Truong Viet Hung
Phuc loves to play with his sister, he often asks his mom to put his 6-months-old sister on his shoulder for the riding house game.

Since early October, heavy rainfall and cascading storms have caused the worst floods in two decades for central Viet Nam. For the first 10 days, Hoa and her family tried to stay in their house until the water level reached half-way to the ceiling until they moved to the neighbor’s house.  Hoa’s felt relieved to be safe in the neighbor’s house but food shortage, lack of warm and dry clothes started to affect every in the house. The fact that Hoa and her husband have to take care of 2 visually impaired children also makes their lives under those conditions more challenging.  

Phuc tries to feel the remaining of the collapsed tree in front of his house, which was broken by the strong typhoons and the historical flood. Everyday his mom takes him sit under the cool shade of the tree in the afternoon.
UNICEF Viet Nam\Truong Viet Hung
Phuc tries to feel the remaining of the collapsed tree in front of his house, which was broken by the strong typhoons and the historical flood. Everyday his mom takes him sit under the cool shade of the tree in the afternoon.
Mr Nam holds Phuc and calms him after Phuc knew that he could not find his favorite tree any more
UNICEF Viet Nam\Truong Viet Hung
Mr Nam holds Phuc and calms him after Phuc knew that he could not find his favorite tree any more

“My husband and I have to take turn to take care of our children all day long. We are so worried about their safety, especially the risks of falling into water and drowning. My son is not aware of all the dangers caused by the flood. He is very active and playful, so we always have to keep an eye on him”, Hoa said:

“Sooner or later, I know we will need to rebuild our house and return to normal life once water recedes. Frankly speaking, I don’t worry about this too much. My main concern is about my children with disabilities. I need to send my older son to Da Nang where he can receive specialized care for visually impaired children, but right now we’re unable to send him. I really want my children to learn life skills and how they can be independent and protect themselves in emergencies”, she added.

Natural disasters like what central Viet Nam has experienced since early October have an impact on all the population but the most vulnerable families – like Hoa and her children – are more severely affected. The last storm the hit the region - Molave – has caused even more rainfall in Quang Binh where Hoa lives, so the hope for a return to normalcy and for her son to go to the specialized care center is pushed even further.

UNICEF Viet Nam