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Young men save hundreds from floods in Ha Tinh Province

Now the waters have started to recede in flood-hit Cam Due Commune in central province of Ha Tinh’s Cam Xuyen District, local residents have set up a collective clean-up group. Memories of the historic floods will soon fade but one story that will remain in the community is that of the brave actions of Le Van Thanh and three other young men.

Residents have hailed the young men as heroes because together they saved more than 300 people from drowning. It was 5pm on October 18 and Thanh was fishing near his house when he noticed the water was rising rapidly, he recalled.

Young men, save hundreds from floods, Ha Tinh Province, flood-hit area, collective clean-up group, historic floods, surging floodwaters

Le Van Thanh recalls the rescue operation that saved hundreds of local residents.

He rushed home to move his family to higher ground as water rushed through the commune submerging all 12 villages. The voices of people calling for each other and screaming caused unprecedented chaos, he said.

After making sure his wife and children were safe, Thanh decided to phone his younger brother Le Van Cong and his friends Dau Van Hoang and Pham Van Dong to ask them to help rescue other villagers.

Within minutes Cong, Hoang and Dong were at his house and they jumped in a boat to set out for some of the houses where the water had reached up to the windows. Thanh rowed the boat towards houses that had water up to the windows using a lamp to search in the darkness.

“When they got in the boat, they were shivering with cold,” Thanh said.

Seeing two elderly in the house next door, Thanh’s group also managed to help them.

The group went back and forth for four hours, paddling in the surging floodwaters. By 11pm they had rescued 60 people.

The rescue operation had to be stopped at midnight because they were too tired, cold and hungry. Thanh returned home to see his wife and children who were still clinging to a small boat.

“When I saw my husband I felt angry because he left us at home fighting the floods. I couldn’t contact him. I was afraid something bad had happened to him,” Nguyen Thi Tinh, Thanh’s wife told.

Eating a pack of dried instant noodles in his wet clothes, Thanh told his wife about what he had been doing.

“My phone is out of battery. People are calling for help, so we must help them. We have two boats. I think you'll be fine here, ” he said.

Tinh said she was no longer angry after hearing her husband's story, and he set off again to help other people.

On the way, he also carried three neighbours to safety. Over the following days they continued their mission.

With the help of rescue forces from other localities, Thanh’s small group eventually saved more than 300 people in three days.

When we were about 1km from the village, the boat flipped and we were lucky to survive, but Thành lost all of his fishing equipment, he said.

“If we were afraid of death, we would not have done it, but we were worried that the boat could flip again,” Dong recalled. Now they are relieved that no one in their area died in the floods.

“It wasn't a big deal. We work as fishermen on the river so are familiar with the local conditions,” Thanh said humbly about his experience.

Vo Ta Ky, chairman of Cam Due Commune’s People’s Committee, said during the floods, many outstanding individuals had been recognised by local authorities and residents.

“Thanh saved the lives of hundreds of people with his courage,” he said, adding that the local government planned to reward Thanh and his colleagues.

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Source: VNS

Young men, save hundreds from floods, Ha Tinh Province, flood-hit area, collective clean-up group, historic floods, surging floodwaters
 
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