The world of Tzu Chi April 2020 (Vol.121)

Restoring Farmers’ Livelihoods after Floods Laos has been plagued by a succession of natural disasters affecting local agricultural activities in recent years. The nation was hit by Tropical Storm Podul in late August 2019, followed by Tropical Depression Kajiki in early September, unleashing torrential rainfall that caused the Mekong River to swell and burst its banks, resulting in widespread damage in 47 districts across six provinces. Up to 160,000 households were affected by the disaster, which destroyed more than 100,000 hectares of rice fields. Following the disaster, the Laos government sought assistance from Tzu Chi. Volunteers were dispatched twice to the affected areas to conduct a thorough assessment of the aftermath. In late November 2019, 123 volunteers from Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam arrived in disaster-hit Sonnabouly, Savannakhet Province, and Sanasomboun, Champasak Province to distribute rice, cooking oil, salt, sugar and the most important source of income for local farmers – rice seeds. Many of the villagers arrived early at the distribution venue, clutching claim checks that entitled them to rations of sugar, salt, cooking oil, rice and rice seeds. [Photograph by Huang Xiao-zhe]