Stories of Change

The new water tank at Xay's family's house.

Between July 2016 and June 2017, CWS responded to emergencies in Haiti, the United States, Japan, Myanmar and Serbia.

Building back better after flash flooding in Vietnam (2)

Thao Thi Xay, 37, lives with her three children in Yen Bai province in northern Vietnam. Her husband works as a day laborer away from their remote mountain village. That meant that he wasn’t with his family on the morning in early August when flash flooding devastated their lives.

Xay recalls hearing an unfamiliar rumbling sound that morning. Then she saw the water. It was rising rapidly all around her house, and then it flooded into the home. She and her oldest child had just minutes to scoop up the younger children and climb a nearby hill for safety.

From the hillside, Xay could do nothing but cry as she saw the house and all their property swept away. And, having lost everything, she and the children had to take shelter along with many others in a school for more than three weeks. The place was safe, but several families shared each classroom, and there was no place to cook and no clean water except rain water for drinking.

Still, Xay felt lucky jut to have survived. And before too long, her husband was able to return home to the family. They received help from relatives and outsiders to rebuild a new house in the high mountains. Once they had their new house, Xay was even happier when our CWS team visited to share a hygiene kit and also to offer more long-term support – a 1,000-liter water tank, which will help her and the children have a better home life in the future.