Vietnamese believers excluded from flood relief.

By December 18, 2003

Vietnam (MNN)–The United Nations agencies describe two major storms that buffeted central Vietnam from mid-October to mid-November as the worst since extensive flooding that reached record levels in 1999.

The floods ravaged the central areas of Vietnam and the government has provided relief for flood victims, but Christians are being excluded from this benefit.

A series of storms and heavy rains devastated the central region on November 14th, 16th and 24th. Christian Aid Missionhas learned that as of December 3 approximately 75,000 houses were destroyed, 120,000 hectares of rice fields were filled with sand and rock, and thousands of rural people are homeless.

Most of these people received financial assistance and immediate relief from the Vietnamese government. However, 425 Christians in Quang Ngai province and 654 Christians in Ninh province were refused help solely because of their Christian faith.

These Christians already live in dire poverty, and this tragedy left many of them hungry and sick. Without assistance, many are expected to die. The Vietnamese government routinely persecutes Christians in the rural areas of Vietnam, and this is another example of how Christians are denied the most basic elements needed to survive.

Vietnam has been, and is currently ranked as one of the worst violators of human rights. Christian Aid has repeatedly reported detailed information and evidence of routine atrocities committed against Christians, especially those residing in the rural areas of Vietnam.

There are currently an estimated 400 Christian pastors imprisoned in these areas for simply holding legal church meetings. Christian Aid is committed to helping these Christian flood victims.

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