Vietnam: the Mekong Delta six months on

I was previously posted to the Mekong Delta in the summer of 2012. I was deployed there to initiate an early recovery project following severe floods and to develop the strategy for shelter and bridge construction projects.

The early recovery programme is now at the six-month stage. I returned to Vietnam in order to monitor the project and to provide input on some key technical aspects.

The progress the team has made is amazing, and I want to tell you all about the incredible work that they’ve done, thanks to your support.

Building bridges

Many bridges in the Mekong Delta were destroyed by the flooding. These bridges acted as vital arteries for communities to integrate with the local economy and access basic services such as clinics and schools.

Save the Children worked with local organisations and authorities to rebuild two bridges in the communities of Phu Duc and Phu Hiep. These bridges will connect 300 and 550 households respectively.

We developed the initial design for each of the bridges. This was then finalised by a local design company.

Both bridges are built using commonly available materials and made by construction methods that will allow future maintenance and repair.

The design was also optimised to create greater durability to future floods and to be safer for children.

Save the Children is due to start work on a third bridge in Thong Thoi Hau soon. This bridge will be the longest at around 40 metres.

The photograph below shows the dilapidated condition of the existing bridge. Crossing is not for the faint-hearted!

Repairing and strengthening

Many of the most vulnerable households lost their homes during the flooding.

Save the Children’s shelter team is in the process of supporting the repair and strengthening of 280 homes.

At the time of writing this, around 60 homes had been completed in the worst-affected community.

Our project is designed to “build back better” and reduce vulnerability to future floods.

This has been achieved by running training programmes with beneficiaries and demonstrating simple technical measures that can increase the durability of the houses.

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