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Momentous photos 2020

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As the Weekly is going to celebrate its 30th anniversary in October 2021, we take this chance afforded by the New Year issue to look back and find out that 2020 is one of the most eventful years in the past three decades of our history. Needless to say, Covid-19 towers over all other terrible incidents in 2020—it has been dubbed “the most devastating pandemic over the past century.” But there were seminal influences as well: natural calamities, climate change, economic slumps, crimes and the like. Yet some of them were offset by compassion, empathy and humanity. It is in misfortune that Vietnamese have exposed commiseration to their compatriots.

The following momentous photos, all taken by our contributing photoreporter Truong Thanh Tung, may give readers a review of this past year on the first days of 2021.

Luong Van Hieu, 58—a resident of My Trung hamlet, My Thanh Commune in Giong Trom District of Ben Tre Province—is wiping away his tears as he is standing on his dry rice field. Mr. Hieu is worried that the flowering rice paddies will bear no grains because of the lack of water. This photo was taken on February 22, 2020 when Ben Tre and coastal provinces in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta were ravaged by a drought accompanied by saline intrusion. The Ben Tre authorities had to declare the state of emergency in the province in March 2020
Although the Covid-19 pandemic has so far resulted in numbers of infected cases and deaths in Vietnam way lower than elsewhere in the world, its economic devastation and repercussion are equally serious here. This photo depicts a little girl trying to sleep on the sidewalk beside a bin containing beverage cans. The little girl’s mother is offering beverages to people in Covid-19 quarantine at a facility in the premises of the Vietnam National University HCMC in Thu Duc District
Fishermen in Nghia An Commune in the city of Quang Ngai, Quang Ngai Province, are trying to pull ashore a sunken boat during Typhoon Molave. The typhoon landed in Vietnam’s central coast on October 28, 2020, leaving disastrous consequences
On July 15, a surgery team of 100 doctors and nurses performed an operation on conjoined twin sister Truc Nhi and Dieu Nhi, an extremely rare case of anomaly occurring in one in every 100,000 live births. The operation was successful. On October 7, 2020, the separated twins were released from hospital to head home
This photo taken on October 8 shows some of the first subway cars made in Japan being transported from a port in District 4 to Long Binh Station in District 9 where they were to be test-run. These cars would be used for the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien route, the first subway line in HCMC scheduled for operation in late 2021, nine years after construction started
In this picture shot on January 30, 2020, a riot policeman was getting his automatic rifle ready during a manhunt in early 2020 in Cu Chi District, HCMC. The fugitive is Le Quoc Tuan, 33, an ex-police officer, who killed five people in a gambling site and injured two later while on his way to escape from the site. After committing the crime, he managed to remain at large for two weeks, which resulted in a massive manhunt amassing hundreds of police officers and military personnel. On February 13, 2020, at a house of his relatives in Cu Chi, Le Quoc Tuan was gunned down when he fired his automatic rifle at law enforcement officers who were besieging him
A motorbiker wading amidst the rising water because of heavy rain on Nguyen Huu Canh Street in HCMC on August 6, 2020
A portrait photo of Le Minh Hoan taken on July 2, 2020, when he was still Party Secretary of Dong Thap Province in the Mekong Delta. More than two months later, Mr. Hoan was appointed by the Prime Minister as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Mr. Hoan has been famed for his profound understanding of local farmers’ livelihood and difficulties.
He is also a contributor to the Saigon Times Group
Flooding in the central province of Quang Binh in mid-October was even more catastrophic than the historic flood in 1979. The 2020 flooding left almost 97,000 houses in the province inundated. Le Thuy District alone had 32,000 houses submerged. The scene in this photo taken on October 19, 2020 shows the rescue of an elderly people who was too weak to walk
Covid-19 caused the Vietnamese educational sector to witness “unprecedented events,” such as “the longest Lunar New Year holidays in history” when students nationwide had to remain at home for three months. Their examination schedules were also changed. This picture shot on August 10, 2020 shows students taking their exam at Trung Vuong High School in District 1, HCMC, more than one month behind schedule
Covid-19 has made life more miserable to many Vietnamese. One of the victims is Nguyen Tan Hung, the boy in this picture taken on September 17, 2020. Hung is in his small rented room near Linh Trung Export Processing Zone in Thu Duc, HCMC. Hung’s parents have to do different jobs only to meet both ends meet as their salaries were severely cut during the pandemic
The site of the factory under construction of AV Healthcare, a South Korean company, in Giang Dien Industrial Park in Trang Bom District, Dong Nai Province. On May 14, a long wall of the factory collapsed, killing 10 workers and injuring 17 others
People inside a quarantine facility in the premises of the Vietnam National University HCMC in queues waiting for completing formalities to leave the place on April 11. They had been there for 14 days
A woman was smiling after she had received a rice portion from the “rice ATM,” a nickname for an automatic machine which distributed free rice to the needy in HCMC in this photo taken on April 11, 2020. Similar “rice ATMs” were later installed in other localities in Vietnam
A woman was walking past a poster which said “We are determined to win over the Covid-19 pandemic” on April 16
A pig was on the brink of being drowned as water was rising fast on October 19 in Quang Binh Province
Trinh Phung and his family members in Nghia Hoa Commune, Tu Nghia District, Quang Ngai Province, are trying to clear the wreck of their house after Typhoon Molave swept through the area. This photo was taken on October 28, 2020

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