Stories of Change

Vau using her family's new water storage tank, which was provided by CWS.

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 (1)

“Since we have this water tank, our family always has enough water to use whenever we need it. Also, I love bathing here at home after working in the field and not having to wait until it gets dark so I can go to the stream for that.” – Sung Thi Vau

Like many H’Mong couples, Sung Thi Vau and her husband made a small wood house and settled in to live in a small village near a stream in Mu Cang Chai in Vietnam’s northern Yen Bai province. They have two sons who, besides taking time and being lucky enough to go to school, often help their parents working in the field. Their life is hard, but peaceful.

That is, it was peaceful until one night in early August, when Vau awoke with a start. She heard a loud noise and then saw water rushing under her bed! Vau and her husband had just enough time to pull their sons out of bed, too, and then the whole family ran up the nearby hill.

When they looked back, their house was collapsing under the furious flash flood.

All they could do was weep at seeing everything they owned swept away in an instant. Their stored rice and corn were gone. So were their animals; they lost two buffaloes, four pigs and a flock of chickens that night. The family was fortunate to stay with their relatives for some time, and thanks for support from relatives and neighbors, they have now made a new house in a safe place on the hillside.

Life is now getting back to normal for the family, and CWS support is helping them build back better. First, it was a simple hygiene kit. Then it was a 260-gallon water tank. Having noted the clear benefits of having a water storage system that is safe and close at hand, Vau was eager to hear from CWS WASH Officer Nguyen Van Ty about now to make a sanitary latrine so her family can also stop open defecation and continue to make positive progress.  Despite all the loss – which will take a long time to recover from – we are proud to have brought the family a measure of hope.