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Poor people on Ly Son Island get solar-powered, storm-resilient houses

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Red Cross Society of Quang Ngai Province and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on December 28 handed over 10 solar-powered and storm-resilient houses to poor households severely affected by the historic storms in 2020.

The storms caused enormous damage in central Vietnam, including in Quang Ngai Province.

On Ly Son Island, hundreds of houses were destroyed, directly affecting people’s lives, especially the poor households, near-poor households, women-headed households and elderly households. During storm No. 9 in November 2020 alone, the roofs of over 1,800 houses on the island blew off or collapsed.

Addressing the handover ceremony, Nguyen Van Danh, vice chairman of the Red Cross Society of Quang Ngai Province, said, “To promptly remedy the damage and help the poor stabilize their lives, UNDP through the Provincial Red Cross supported the construction of 10 storm-resilient houses with solar electricity for 10 poor families who were seriously affected by the storm on Ly Son Island.”

Patrick Haverman, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Vietnam, said, “The storm-resistant housing model is one of the most effective ways to reduce risks to the lives of the Ly Son people. These UNDP-funded 10 resilient houses constructed on Ly Son Island are specifically engineered to withstand the extreme winds that impact this island.”

The rooftop solar systems installed on the houses can provide lighting during blackouts caused by these disasters. All the houses have already withstood the impacts of both storm Conson and the recent typhoon Rai that passed over the island in 2021.

Haverman emphasized that “the special wind- and storm-resistant features of this particular resilient housing model and its solar panel system should be further promoted to other islands in the central region to enhance the resilience of the most vulnerable households and communities.”

According to a recent study on resilient housing needs conducted by UNDP and the Ministry of Construction, over 110,000 families still live without safe housing across Vietnam’s 28 coastal provinces, including more than 25,000 families in coastal districts. Over 1,500 are located in the five coastal districts of Quang Ngai.

On behalf of beneficiary households, Bui Thi Hoang of Dong An Hai Village shared her gratitude, saying, “Today I am very touched, happy, and excited to live in my new beautiful, strong house. Life was not so easy for my family. My husband died early; two of us, my daughter and I, depended on each other and moved on. Our financial situation is tough.”

She added, “Our house was a temporary shelter. It was about to collapse when the storm hit and its roof was blown away. Now my family has received assistance from the local government, the Red Cross, and the donor to rebuild a new storm-resilient house for us to live in. I no longer have to worry when there is rain or a storm. I am delighted with this new house.”

Earlier in mid-December, UNDP, the Department of Planning and Investment of Quang Binh Province and World Share handed over 39 newly built storm- and flood-resilient houses to poor households severely affected by typhoons and floods in 2020.

In addition, with the support of the Green Climate Fund, UNDP and the Government of Vietnam have built more than 800 storm- and- flood resilient houses since 2018 in the districts of Ba Don, Bo Trach, Le Thuy, Quang Ninh, Quang Trach and Tuyen Hoa in Quang Binh Province, contributing to the disaster prevention capacity for poor and near-poor households in the area.

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