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Posts Tagged ‘struggle’

Northern residents struggle for their livelihood in icy weather

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:04 am

People in the northern region have experienced much hardship caused by the extreme cold weather, with temperatures continuing to remain below 10 degree Celsius.

Hanoians near the To Lich river trying to keep warm by lighting a fire (Photo: Van Phuc)

Yesterday morning female porters along the Nhue River bank in Hanoi had not found any work due to the cold weather condition. As a result, they gathered and made a fire to keep warm.


Similarly, some women from the Xuan La Commune, Tay Ho District, were found huddle together, trying to keep warm instead of searching for shellfish in the Tay Lake as usual although the price of a kilogram of shellfish has skyrocketed from VND11,000 to VND20,000 a kilogram.


Elsewhere in Tu Liem District, thousand of people start work early at 1am in order to harvest their vegetables and flowers. This is to ensure that their products will be sold at the markets on time.


Mountainous regions see cattle die in the hundreds


Loc Binh District in Lang Son Province, on Sunday reported a lot of cattle die from the cold weather. The worst affected area was in Mau Son Commune, where temperatures fell to -1 degree Celsius, causing dead to hundreds of buffalos. Most of the cattle were old or calves.


Local resident Nguyen Thanh Lan said many traders have come to Mau Son in order to buy the dead cattle. The prices were VND200,000-300,000 for a calf and VND1 million for a buffalo.


Lan further said, that if the cattle had lived they would fetch a price of VND3-5 million and VND10 million, respectively.


Early in the New Year, over 50 buffalos from the Pac Nam District of Bac Kan Province, were found dead, due to cold weather condition. The provincial governor did at that time instruct local farmers to move their cattle out of the district, aiming to find more appropriate shelter for the animals.


People in the provinces of Ha Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang and Bac Kan are very concerned that if the cold weather continues, more cattle will die.


Related article:
Cold weather killing cattle

Source: SGGP

Blue-collar workers struggle in “storm of prices” period

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:31 am

Although city leaders have adopted measures to stabilize prices, increase of essential commodities like rice, poultry, meat, vegetables, milk, construction materials, medicines and travel services has badly influenced on meager-income residents’ lives including blue-collar workers.

Female workers live in a small boarding house in district 8 ( Photo: SGGP)

Workers from Industrial Park Tan Tao in district Binh Tan thronged into the nearby flea-market in the Highway 1A. A lot of foodstuffs were available for choices, but only two kinds of foods were consumed most are swamp morning-glory and eggs as they are cheaper than meat and other foods.


Dang Hong Nhung, a worker of Pouyuen Vietnam Company, said she and her colleagues have eaten eggs and the vegetable in one week but they couldn’t afford other foodstuff.


Many female workers complained all foodstuffs have increased but their salaries have not changed; they thus choose cheapest vegetable and foods for meals.


Bui Thi Nuong from the central province of Quang Ngai to Ho Chi Minh City to work for a company in Industrial Park tan Thuan in district 7 said she can’t save for healthcare treatment with the total month salary of the couple of VND3.2 million ( US$160) meanwhile she can save VND400,000 for medical treatment.


In the meantime, the couple Nguyen Quang Hai boarding in a small house in a long alley in district Binh Tan must have instant noodle as an alternative for rice which have soared by VND2,000. They have to save to raise two kids in a countryside area with their grandparents.


Many workers fall into such condition. They must leave their children to make some extra cash to send back to relatives who bring up these kids. To cut back expenditure, they have to live in small accommodations in bad conditions.


Tran Thi Hong Van, chairwoman Nissei’s labor union, said the union has petitioned the company to give support for married female workers’ housing, especially those have children but there has no reply from the company. Concerning to the project for construction of pre-schools for kids of laborers, Ms. Van said the company faces financial difficulties so it failed.


To help workers overcome the “storm of prices” period, enterprises in industrial parks give support to workers including increasing bonus, allowance, improving meal quality and salaries for shifts. For instance, Pouyuen companies in Industrial Park in district Binh Tan gives workers VND250,000 a month, Nessei in the export processing zone Linh Trung 1 in district Thu Duc VND200,000. Thanks to the immediate care, employers both keep workers continue working for the companies and reduce strikes.

Source: SGGP

Children’s hospitals struggle with recent surge in patients

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:27 am




Children’s hospitals struggle with recent surge in patients


QĐND – Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 21:6 (GMT+7)

The number of children with respiratory illnesses, acute diarrhoea and dengue fever has increased sharply in recent days, according to hospitals in HCM City.

The HCM City Paediatrics Hospital No 1’s Respiratory Diseases Ward is severely overstretched, having to take in as many as 200-230 inpatients a day while it has just 100 beds.

At the Digestive Ward of HCM City Paediatrics Hospital No 2, many inpatients are suffering from acute diarrhoea.

Environmental pollution as well as unsafe and unhygienic food have increased considerably the risk of diarrhoea in children, according to doctors.

The HCM City Health Department has ordered relevant agencies to implement measures to control further outbreaks of diarrhoea. It has urged district authorities to strengthen awareness campaigns about the disease, including prevention measures like using boiled water, eating well cooked food and washing hands with soap and water before eating.

Meanwhile, the Pasteur Institute has noted that the city is now having about 500 patients with dengue fever every week, up 50 percent compared to the same period last year.

In this case, it is not just children, but the number of adults contracting the mosquito-borne disease is also on the increase.

On December 6, a first-grade student of the Chuong Duong Primary School in District 1 died of dengue fever, said Nguyen Van The, director of the District 1 Preventive Health Centre.

Source: VNA/ Photo: xaluan


Source: QDND

Ruler of strategic UAE emirate dies, sparking power struggle

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2010 at 9:10 am

An undated reproduction made available by the Emirates News Agency (WAM), shows the aged ruler of the tiny but strategic emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi who died on October 27, 2010. AFP

DUBAI, Oct 27, 2010 (AFP) – The ruler of the tiny but strategic emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, died on Wednesday at the age of 92, immediately sparking a war of succession between his sons.


“Sheikh Saqr died at dawn on Wednesday in Ras al-Khaima,” WAM, the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates, reported.


Sheikh Saqr, who in past years has suffered from failing health, has since 1948 ruled the emirate located on the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which some 40 percent of the world’s oil is shipped.


WAM said that Sheikh Saqr’s son, Crown Prince Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi, whom it described as the “ruler of Ras al-Khaima,” had announced 40 days of mourning in the emirate.


Meanwhile, Sheikh Saud’s elder brother, Sheikh Khaled bin Saqr al-Qassimi, proclaimed himself ruler of the emirate in a video message posted on his website soon after his father’s death.


The struggle for power first erupted between the two brothers in 2003 when their father demoted Sheikh Khaled and appointed his younger brother Sheikh Saud as crown prince.


No reasons for the change were ever made public.


“On (my father’s) passing away I should assume his duties and obligations as the ruler of Ras al-Khaima in accordance with the law and constitution of the United Arab Emirates,” Sheikh Khaled said in the video.


“In the coming days and weeks I will be meeting with my family and friends, members of the supreme council, and rulers of the UAE outlining my agenda for the hundred days of my lawful leadership,” he added.


“I have watched with growing concern as Ras al-Khaima has recently strayed from my father’s lifelong mission of always putting the people first,” he said, criticising his brother’s rule.


Ras al-Khaimah is one of the seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates. The others are Abu Dhabi, which also serves as the capital, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm al-Qaiwain.

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Source: SGGP

Businesses struggle as dollar gets more expensive

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 7:52 am

Following the State Bank of Vietnam’s decision to devalue the dong against the US dollar by two percent, many companies in Ho Chi Minh City have complained they cannot keep their selling prices unchanged and maintain profits.

Customers at the Asia Commercial Bank in HCM City (Photo: SGGP)

On August 17, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) increased the average inter-bank exchange rate by VND 388 to VND 18,932 per US dollar in an effort to ease the trade deficit. The new exchange rate is applicable as of August 18, and the trading band remains unchanged at ±3%. The SBV also stipulated that the ceiling exchange rate listed by commercial banks is VND19,500.

Several manufacturers, retailers, and distributors told Sai Gon Giai Phong on Thursday, August 19, that the new exchange rate made it difficult to maintain the prices of many commodities, especially of items produced with imported materials whose prices depend on the USD-VND exchange rate.


Some importers, including those of kitchen utensils, are preparing to increase their selling prices to offset the rise in input costs, said Bui Hanh Thu, deputy director of the Saigon Co.op.


One representative of a supermarket chain said: “In early August, many suppliers of garments, food and cosmetics said they would increase prices of a number of commodities by 3-12 percent. While we were negotiating ways to maintain prices, the inter-bank rate increased, making it more difficult for us to keep prices unchanged.


“From September, we cannot help but raise the selling prices of a number of commodities at a rate that reconciles the benefit of producers, traders and consumers.”


Currently, most supermarkets, including Co.op Mart, Big C, Satramart, Maximart and Citimart, can offer goods at the same prices as before, owing to large reserves. Meanwhile, many traditional markets and shops that trade in imported goods have increased their selling prices.


The rise of the interbank rate had an immediate effect on traders who hold small quantities of goods in stock, said a trader of imported confectionary in Binh Thanh District said.  “For the time being, I try to keep prices unchanged but have to reduce the discount rates to maintain profit”.


Cao Tien Vi, chairman of the Saigon Paper JSC, said the increased inter-bank rate would directly affect the company’s business, as increased prices of many imported materials “would make our production costs rise”.  


The company’s investment plan has been also affected. “We are investing in a new production line worth VND100 billion. Now with the new inter-bank rate, we will suffer an increase of about 2.1 percent in our investment costs,” Vi said.


To maintain its competitiveness, the company is trying to not to increase selling prices, but if the situation continues, the company’s profits will come down to zero, he said.


Tran Quoc Manh, Vice President of HCM City’s Association for Fine Arts and Wood Processing, said: “The country targets US$3 billion worth of woodwork exports this year, but with the increased inter-bank rate, the target becomes distant since as much as 80 percent of the materials for the wood processing industry are imported”.


Many long-term export contracts have been signed with foreign partners, so local importers could face a lot difficulties with a rise in their input costs that will eat away their profit, Manh cautioned.

Source: SGGP

Accelerating the struggle for justice for AO victims

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm




Accelerating the struggle for justice for AO victims


QĐND – Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 20:50 (GMT+7)

Diplomats, lawyers, businesspeople and young people gathered at talks in Ho Chi Minh City on August 9 to point out the role, responsibility and behaviour of each individual in caring, helping and struggling for justice for Agent Orange victims.


Lawyer Truong Trong Nghia, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Bar Federation, said that AO has caused a long-term effect on many Vietnamese generations and the environment, including deep spiritual wounds that cannot be compensated for.


The focus will be on implementing measures to prevent the transmission of AO chemicals to children, and building care centres, schools and vocational training centres for AO victims to help them integrate into the community, and accelerating the struggle for justice for the victims.


Doctor Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong said that the struggle for justice for AO victims has made some progress.


The US Government has not yet acknowledged its legal responsibility for dealing with the consequences of the AO chemical but it is gradually admitting its responsibility and helping to deal with the problem. The US plans to provide US$300 million the AO victims in the next 10 years.


The VAVA will continue the struggle for justice for AO victims and mobilise the community’s support for them.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

Salt farmers struggle despite ministry’s policy

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:19 am

Although the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development directed the Bac Lieu Salt and Trading Company to purchase over 30,000 tons of salt from farmers in the Mekong delta province of Bac Lieu, currently with 200,000 tons in stock, two weeks later, the company had only bought a small quantity of salt.

Salt farmers in Bac Lieu province have bumper harvest but can’t sell as the company only purchase white clean salt but farmers have more black variety (Photo: SGGP)

Company director Ho Thanh Tuan admitted his firm had only bought 1,000 tons of salt, despite the Ministry request to collect 10,000 tons of clean salt, justifying the tardiness on a lack of funds and means of transportation.


Tuan said that next week the salt company would pay salt makers and cooperatives money at their homes, with government representative there as witnesses and then would collect the salt afterwards.


As happy as salt farmers were to hear the government mandate for companies to buy their overstocked salt, they became even more disappointed when the company only sought to buy clean, white salt, as they had produced more black salt more than the white variety.


Dong Hai District salt farmer Do Van Thiet was in despair because he has produced 40 tons of salt, but has sold only half that quantity.


Most salt farmers in the region have borrowed money, which they spent immediately, promising to repay the loans when after harvesting salt. Thus, they have been forced to sell their salt to traders at very low prices, desperate to pay debts.


Moreover, the hard work of farmers will go unrewarded if it rains over the salt fields, where they have invested much time and effort, their hopes now in danger of washing away in the rain.


To escape this plight, many salt farmers have left the countryside to seek jobs faraway from home. Truong Van Luom and Ha Van Duoc have relocated to Ho Chi Minh City to make money.


Despite selling 800 tons of white salt at VND700 per kilogram at fields, Nguyen Van Minh, deputy head of Diem Nghiep Cooperative, still complained that farmers in his cooperative have profited less than they would have had they grown rice; worse, farmers have grown large quantities of black salt, which fetches VND300 a kilogram, but has attracted very few buyers.


Phan Minh Quang, vice director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said a solution is needed to help farmers escape their present plight; otherwise, the ministry’s policy to purchase salt from farmers would fail completely.


Related article:
Mekong salt makers can’t sell bumper harvest

Source: SGGP

China quake toll tops 600 as rescuers struggle

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm

XINING, China, April 15, 2010 (AFP) – Rescuers with shovels and bare hands clawed through rubble Thursday to hunt for survivors of a quake in a remote area of China which killed over 600 people and made thousands homeless.


A huge relief effort was under way to send vital aid such as tents and medical supplies to the disaster zone, where doctors set up makeshift hospitals and rescuers battled freezing weather and a lack of oxygen.

Chinese rescue workers with sniffer dogs line up at Xining airport before leaving for Yushu county in Qinghai province on April 15, 2010. AFP photo

Thousands spent the night without shelter in freezing temperatures following the 6.9 magnitude quake which hit Yushu county in northwestern Qinghai province on Wednesday, destroying almost all the houses in Jiegu, the local capital.


The number who perished has risen to 617, including dozens of children, while the number of injured stood at 9,110, state television reported.


But the death toll was expected to rise further, with more than 300 still buried under collapsed mud-and-wood houses and school buildings in the mainly Tibetan region after the deadliest quake in China in almost two years.


“Freezing weather, high altitude and thin air have all made rescue efforts difficult,” Hou Shike, deputy head of the China International Search and Rescue was quoted as saying by the Xinhua state news agency.


Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is due to visit the area later Thursday, as the government dispatched thousands of rescuers, including soldiers and medical teams to the zone on the Tibetan plateau known as the “Roof of the World”.


Foreign governments also offered their help as international aid officials warned that the priorities would be providing shelter, medical aid, supply of food and water and ensuring sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.


The rugged terrain and remoteness of the region, around 800 kilometres (500 miles) or at least 12 hours by road from the provincial capital Xining, were hampering efforts to bring in much-needed supplies.


The quake and a series of strong aftershocks damaged roads and triggered landslides, disrupting telecommunications and knocking out power, although the goverment later said electricity had been restored to dozens of towns.


Dazed survivors told harrowing stories of loved ones being crushed to death under their homes.


“There are 10 people in my family and only four of us escaped. One of my relatives died. All the others are buried under the rubble,” Samdrup Gyatso, 17, told Xinhua after his two-storey home crumbled.


The civil affairs ministry said it was to send 5,000 tents, 50,000 coats and 50,000 quilts. But the local government in Yushu — the quake’s epicentre — reported a lack of tents and medical supplies.


“We lack everything. We lack medical alcohol, needles, anaesthetic,” said doctor Karma Sherab, holding open his empty medical bag as a mother sought help for her injured daughter, Xinhua reported.


Survivors spent an uncomfortable night in the open with temperatures below freezing while rescue workers from outside the region struggled to cope with the lack of oxygen at about 4,000 metres (13,200 feet) above sea level.


Among the dead were at least 66 pupils and 10 teachers, Xinhua said, quoting local authorities, as dozens of grieving parents waited for news near the ruins of the schools, where discarded school books and clothes lay.


The scene was reminiscent of the huge quake in May 2008 in Sichuan province, where thousands of children died when their shoddily-constructed schools fell on them — an issue that caused huge controversy in China.


Nearly 87,000 people were killed or missing in the 2008 disaster, the worst in China in more than three decades.


Qinghai province was also hit by a quake in April 1990 that left 126 dead.


The United States was “ready to assist” in the rescue effort, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, while the United Nations said its chief Ban Ki-moon “recognises the efforts being undertaken by the government of China to assess the situation and to assist those affected by the earthquake”.

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Source: SGGP

Rescuers struggle to reach China quake survivors

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 4:17 am

XINING, China (AFP) – Rescue workers were Thursday digging through rubble as they struggled to reach survivors of a quake in a remote region of northwest China which killed nearly 600 people and injured 10,000.


Thousands of people spent a night without shelter in freezing temperatures following the 6.9 magnitude quake which hit mountainous Yushu county in Qinghai province, destroying almost all the houses in the local capital Jiegu.

CCTV screengrab shows rescue workers as they search through the rubble following a strong earthquake in northwest China’s Qinghai province. Rescue workers have been digging through rubble as they struggled to reach survivors of the quake in the remote region which which has killed nearly 600 people and injured 10,000.(AFP/CCTV)

The death toll was expected to rise further, with an unknown number of people including children buried under collapsed mud-and-wood houses and school buildings in the mainly Tibetan region.


“There are 10 people in my family and only four of us escaped. One of my relatives died. All the others are buried under the rubble,” Samdrup Gyatso, 17, told the official Xinhua news agency after his two-storey home crumbled.


President Hu Jintao called for all-out efforts to save as many people as possible, with more than 5,000 rescuers, including 700 soldiers, rushing to the disaster zone.


As the international community began pledging help, the Chinese government said it would provide over 29 million dollars in aid.


But the rugged terrain and remoteness of the region, around 800 kilometres (500 miles) or at least 12 hours by road from the provincial capital Xining, were hampering efforts to bring in much-needed supplies.


The civil affairs ministry said it was to send 5,000 tents, 50,000 coats and 50,000 quilts. But the local government in Yushu — the quake’s epicentre — reported a lack of tents, medicines and medical equipment.


“The injured are everywhere in the street, a lot of people are bleeding from head wounds,” Xinhua quoted a local official named Zhuohuaxia as saying.


The quake, which hit Wednesday morning, and a series of strong aftershocks have damaged roads and triggered landslides, disrupting telecommunications and knocking out electricity supplies.


Rescue workers were forced to use their bare hands or sticks to dig through the rubble while awaiting the arrival of heavy equipment.


Survivors spent an uncomfortable night in the open with temperatures below freezing while rescue workers from outside the region faced difficulties coping with the thin air in the high-altitude area region which averages 4,000 metres (13,200 feet) above sea level.


About 10,000 people were injured when the quake hit, although police managed to pull more than 900 alive from ruined buildings, state media reports said.


Many more are believed buried and forecasters are predicting wind and sleet in the coming days, putting victims at risk of exposure, as well as the risk of more aftershocks.


Xinhua reported that 589 people had been confirmed dead, quoting officials coordinating the rescue.


Among the dead were at least 56 pupils and five teachers, Xinhua said, quoting local authorities, while another 40 students trapped in the debris had a slim chance of surviving.


“Some pupils ran out of dorms alive, and those who had not escaped in time were buried,” said one teacher.


The scene was reminiscent of the huge quake in May 2008 in Sichuan province, where thousands of children died when their shoddily-constructed schools fell on them — an issue that caused huge controversy in China.


Nearly 87,000 people were killed or missing in the 2008 disaster, the worst in China in more than three decades.


Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama offered prayers for those who died while Pope Benedict XVI called for “solidarity” with the victims and nations including France, Germany and Japan voiced shock and offered help.


The United States was “ready to assist” in the rescue effort, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, while the UN said its chief Ban Ki-moon “recognises the efforts being undertaken by the government of China to assess the situation and to assist those affected by the earthquake”.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a letter to Hu offering condolences and voicing confidence “in China’s ability to overcome this latest ordeal”.

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Source: SGGP

Ethnic minorities in Northwest struggle for potable water

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 6:33 am

Residents of northwestern mountainous provinces, especially Lao Cai Province that is home to many ethnic minority communities, are struggling to get water for daily use and irrigation purposes.








After washing vegetables, an ethnic minority woman pours the water into a bucket to take it back home for washing clothes (Photo: SGGP)

The region has been suffering a severe drought for several months now.


The worst hit areas in Lao Cai Province include Ta Gia Khau Commune in Muong Khuong District, Thao Chu Phin and Sin Cheng in Si Ma Cai District, Lau Thi Ngai in Bac Ha District and Minh Luong in Van Ban District.


Along the way to the Ta Gia Khau mountain village, dozens of residents can be seen carrying cans and buckets to collect water from tanks built under the ground to catch water flowing from mountain gorges.


At a tank close to road, Sung A Tranh and his wife were using ladles to collect water. A Tranh even jumped into the tank, but all he could see was soil and dregs.


His wife, Sung Thi Lenh, said that that they were still fortunate to be able to get a little of water while many others were having to travel four to six kilometers or even to other communes to fetch some.


There are many water tanks in the village, but they mostly contain garbage. Local residents have also put many jars out to catch rain water, but there has been no rain for many months now.


Another resident, Vang A Thao, showed a ten liter can of water, saying his wife had to wait a whole afternoon to collect it from a mountain gorge far away.


At several points, between 40 to 50 people can been seen waiting in a long line with cans and buckets to collect water from very thin flows, with each can or bucket taking an hour to fill.


Luu Minh Hai, deputy director of the Lao Cai Province Hydro Meteorological Forecast Center, said that the drought would continue until the end of March, 2010.


Outcome of deforestation


According to many experts, the main reason for the interminable water shortage in Lao Cai as well as in the northwestern region has been deforestation.


For many years now, residents have tried their best to plant trees, but have made slow progress, and the local forest coverage has dwindled alarmingly.


Lao Cai Province has built about 47,000 tanks and reservoirs to store up and provide water (not including irrigation works). In theory, these can ensure water supply for 70 percent of households in the province. However, thousands of these places have been left fallow because in projects near forests in the riverhead, there is no water to be found.


Dry weather conditions in the northwestern region usually last from November to April, and sometimes till July, the middle of the rainy season.


Over the last few years, the Lao Cai Province People’s Committee has evacuated hundreds of H’mong ethnic minority households from two communes of Ta Gia Khau and Din Chin of Muong Khuong District to lower-lying communes like A Mu Sung and Trinh Tuong in Bat Xat District, Ban Phiet in Bao Thang District and Son Thuy in Van Ban District, so they can settle down in areas near water sources.


However, the drought has spread to low-lying areas of the province as well.





Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share