Archive for Vietnam

The Biggest Refugee Camp Braces for Rain: ‘This Is Going to Be a Catastrophe’ – The New York Times

The world’s largest refugee camp, a temporary home to more than half a million people that sprawls precariously across barren hills in southeastern Bangladesh, faces a looming disaster as early as April when the first storms of the monsoon season hit, aid workers warn. “It’s going to be landslides, flash floods, inundation,” said Tommy Thompson, chief of emergency support and response for the World Food Program. “It’s going to be a very, very challenging wet season. That’s if we don’t have a cyclone.”

“But then, in a matter of weeks, as refugees poured in by the tens of thousands, trees were hacked away. Canals were dug. Bamboo-and-tarp shacks went up. More trees were cut as refugees scrambled to find firewood.

The hills, where elephants recently roamed, are now bare. Even the roots have been pulled out, leaving nothing to hold the parched soil together as rainwater washes downhill, potentially taking tents and people with it and quickly inundating low-lying settlements. The United Nations says 100,000 refugees are at acute risk from landslides and floods.

The early rains — known in Bengali as kalboishakhi, which translates loosely as the storms of an “evil summer” — are a precursor to the full-on monsoons. They strike when the soil is still dry and especially susceptible to mudslides. The only warning of their approach is usually hot winds that send the dry earth of summer swirling through the air.”

Source: The Biggest Refugee Camp Braces for Rain: ‘This Is Going to Be a Catastrophe’ – The New York Times

DL: It is too bad that these 600,000 Rohingya refugees were forced or allowed to deforest the area they were placed in. Now they have turned that piece of dessert into a probable death camp when the monsoon rains appear. I need firewood now, versus, I need these trees to prevent flooding later, is a choice I  hope that I never have to make.

Posted in: Bullies and Scoundrels, David Lindsay, Environment, Myanmar, Rohingya of Myanmar

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Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes – The New York Times

“HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — In 1978, when he was 2 years old, Tuan Andrew Nguyen was on a plane to the United States. He and his parents were “boat people,” postwar refugees from Communist Vietnam. They were lucky: After a week at sea in a small, open craft, they made landfall on Bidong Island, a speck of land that would soon become the world’s largest refugee camp. Then an American church group offered to resettle them in Oklahoma. When Tuan started crying somewhere over the Pacific, a flight attendant gave him a Dennis the Menace comic book. It’s his earliest memory.

Today, at 41, Mr. Nguyen is living in the city his parents fled, one of eight million souls careening around its overheated streets on motor scooters. He is a Viet Kieu, an overseas Vietnamese, who came back with alien influences like hip-hop, graffiti art and comics. He is also a member of the Propeller Group, an artists’ collective that offers a sly commentary on contemporary Vietnam through works like “Television Commercial for Communism,” a 60-second spot that purports to repackage the ideology of Marx and Lenin as a sleek, egalitarian, consumer-friendly lifestyle. It comes with a manifesto, of course, but also with a 24-page booklet of “brand guidelines.” The logo for the new Communism “has been carefully crafted to be fair to every letterform,” the guidelines specify in deadpan fashion. “Equal spacing is important.”

Source: Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes – The New York Times

Posted in: Art Culture and Folklore

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72 wild animals rescued in January – Environment – Vietnam News

A loris is rescued from a restaurant in Đồng Nai Province. – Photo courtesy of ENVViet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – At least 72 wild animals were released in their natural habitat in the first month of the year, according to Education for Nature Việt Nam (ENV).They include pangolins, monkeys, turtles, lizards, lorises and birds. Some of these animals were rescued by people and some by police after busting cases of animal trafficking.Illegal breeding of wild animals in homes and restaurants have been prevalent in the country. Many such cases were found out through ENV’s hotline number 18001522, ENV representatives said.On January 16, competent forces in southern Đồng Nai Province’s Thống Nhất District freed two lorises which were kept in a cage for show at a rest stop.

A monkey was rescued from a coffee shop in Đà Nẵng City and was released in Sơn Trà nature reserve centre on January 19.

Source: 72 wild animals rescued in January – Environment – Vietnam News | Politics, Business, Economy, Society, Life, Sports – VietNam News

Posted in: Environment, Wildlife and Nature

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Getting ready for Tet in Vietnam – Feb 16 – Tuoi Tre News 

Getting ready for Tet in Vietnam

“Cleaned the house? Made the Kitchen Gods happy? Busy making cakes? Then you’re on the right track to a great Lunar New Year or Tet!

The cleaning is not just about starting the new year on the right foot. Apparently Vietnamese believe that luck clings to dirt and dust, so when Tet comes you are collecting the ‘new luck’ of the new year. It’s also why they don’t usually sweep the house during the first four days of the lunar year! It’s probably the best excuse I’ve ever heard of being lazy about housecleaning!

Have you got your Vietnamese phrase memorized yet? ‘Chuc Mung Nam Moi’ is roughly spoken like ‘Chook Muung Nam Mooi (‘oi’ sound)’. It doesn’t matter about what the gold and red banners are saying, it’s pretty obvious – mostly making wishes for the coming year.

Keep in mind that the actual holiday stretches out over 1 day before and about 3 to 5 days after the real date (the 16th of February) so lots of shops, banks, and importantly, visa offices will close earlier and re-open later. I often check with my local pubs and favorite shops about this so there are no nasty surprises.”

Source: Getting ready for Tet in Vietnam – Tuoi Tre News

Posted in: Religion Festivals and Culture

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The Uninhabitable Village – by Geeta Anand and Vikram Singh – NYT Oct 26 2017

Beautiful photography, heartbreaking story:

Each sentence below has a photo video clip:

“This is S. Periyanayaki in the rice field in southern India where her husband died.

The worst drought in more than a century killed his rice crop, and he blamed himself.

A farmer found Periyanayaki’s husband, K. Suresh, lying in the barren field. He had drunk pesticide.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have killed themselves in the past 30 years, and some climate researchers believe hotter weather has driven crop failure and made the problem worse.”

Source: The Uninhabitable Village – The New York Times

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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Feature: Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities – April 2017 Reuters.com

NAGAPATTINAM, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Vinod Kumar remembers a time, not so long ago, when the fields in his village in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were green all year round.

His family lived comfortably from its farmland of just over 2 acres (0.8 hectares), growing vegetables, coconuts and millet irrigated by the Cauvery river and the rain.

Kumar grew up believing the farm would be his life.

But today, the 30-year-old drives a car for a living in the city of Chennai, 250 km (155 miles) away. His family joined him two years ago, abandoning what had been for generations their home and their land.

On a recent journey back to the area where he grew up, he said he was far from the only migrant.

“At this time of year, these fields should be green with paddy shoots – but no one seems to be farming,” said Kumar, as he drove past arid fields overgrown with scrub and thorns one sweltering July afternoon.

“We haven’t had enough water for many years. It has become impossible to make a living from farming, and a lot of people have moved to cities to do other jobs.”

Source: Feature: Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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India drought: ‘330 million people affected’ – BBC News 20 April 2016

I am looking for evidence to support the report in the NYT last month, that 100,000 Indian farmers had committed suicide because of the drought in Southeast India.  This old article in the BBC sheds some background light on the disaster.

“At least 330 million people are affected by drought in India, the government has told the Supreme CourtAuthorities say this number is likely to rise further given that some states with water shortages have not yet submitted status reports.The drought is taking place as a heat wave extends across much of India with temperatures crossing 40C for days now.An 11-year-old girl died of heatstroke while collecting water from a village pump in the western Maharashtra state.

Yogita Desai had spent close to four hours in 42C temperatures gathering water from the pump on Sunday, local journalist Manoj Sapte told the BBC.She began vomiting after returning home and was rushed to hospital, but died early on Monday.Yogita’s death certificate says she died of heatstroke and dehydration.

The pump was a mere 500m from her house, but a typical wait for water stretches into hours.India is heavily dependant on monsoon rains, which have been poor for two years in a row.The government said that nearly 256 districts across India, home to nearly a quarter of the population were impacted by the drought.Schools have been shut in the eastern state of Orissa and more than 100 deaths due to heatstroke have been reported from across the country, including from the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh which saw more than 2,000 deaths last summer.”

Source: India drought: ‘330 million people affected’ – BBC News

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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In Africa- Geneticists Are Hunting Poachers. (Many of the big traffickers are Vietnamese and Chinese!) NYT

Published by David Lindsay

Many of the big traffickers are Vietnamese and Chinese!
“South African authorities long had eyes on Rogers Mukwena. They knew the former schoolteacher was wanted in Zimbabwe for poaching rhinoceroses and selling their horns, which can command hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He’d jumped bail and fled to northern Pretoria, but it was vexingly difficult to catch and prosecute him — until a scientist helped make the case against him with rhino DNA.

His subsequent conviction resulted from a new tactic in wildlife preservation: The genetic fingerprinting methods that have been so successful in the criminal justice system are now being used to solve poaching crimes.”

DNA databases holding samples from thousands of rhinoceroses and elephants are helping to convict illegal traffickers.
NYTIMES.COM

Posted in: Bullies and Scoundrels, China, Population Growth, Species Extinction

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A Tesla Too Pricey? E-Bikes Offer Entry-Level Electric Transportation – The New York Times

“Electric cars remain something of a novelty, commanding premium prices and presenting charging challenges, but another kind of electric vehicle has been gaining momentum: the e-bike. Globally, electric cars — battery and plug-in hybrids — account for only about 1 percent of all vehicle sales, with about 1.15 million expected to be sold worldwide this year, according to EV-volumes.com. Compare that with the 35 million e-bikes expected to be purchased this year, according to Navigant, with countries like Ger. . . “

Source: A Tesla Too Pricey? E-Bikes Offer Entry-Level Electric Transportation – The New York Times

Admittedly, this article is not about Vietnam. But it is for Vietnam, and everywhere else.

Posted in: Climate Change, Sustainable Development

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Why China Wants to Lead on Climate- but Clings to Coal (for Now) – The New York Times

“In any event, China’s climate agenda is not so straightforward.

The country is the world’s largest coal consumer. Even as it is phasing out coal plants at home, it is building coal plants abroad as part of an ambitious “One Belt, One Road” initiative, designed to expand Chinese global influence. At the same time, China has embraced renewables: It is the largest producer of electric cars, and it has proposed to set up what would become the world’s largest carbon market.

Li Shuo, of Greenpeace China, said the projected rise in emissions would not affect China’s overall trajectory toward slowing emissions at home and stepping up diplomatically.

“China can continue to play a leading role in the global climate debate, despite this short-term increase of emissions, which is temporary,” he said.

One thing still lost in the fog of global climate negotiations is whether the Chinese leader really wants to be the global leader on climate. In his speech to the Communist Party conclave in October, Mr. Xi took a swipe at the United States by criticizing what he called “self-isolation.” But he said nothing about how his country would step up to fill the gap.

Mr. Xi has said only that China will stick to its pledges. But even if every country meets its Paris pledges, the planet is expected to heat up 3 degrees Celsius or more. That would not be enough to stave off the most catastrophic effects of climate change.”

Source: Why China Wants to Lead on Climate, but Clings to Coal (for Now) – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Climate Change

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