Heavy rains have caused flooding in northern and north-central Vietnam, and officials of the local Church are encouraging aid for those affected.

Fr Paul Nguy·ªÖn Qu·ªëc Anh, director of Caritas in the Diocese of H∆∞ng Hóa, has challenged laity and religious to buy food, water, and medicine for the flood and landside victims, “for Catholics and non-Catholics,” AsiaNews reported.

Continuous rains from July 23 — Aug. 6 have led to flooding around S∆°n Tây which has killed at least 28 people. Eleven people are missing, buildings, roads and bridges have collapsed, and agriculture has been severely affected.

Hà VƒÉn Huy√™n, the leader of a village in the Y√™n Bái province, recalled the devastating moment of a flash flood.

“At first I saw that the flow of water was very small,” he told AsiaNews. “Then, the water started flowing in waves. Five minutes later, the water rose more and more. When I saw the danger, I screamed for people to escape. After only an hour, this huge flood appeared, about ten metres high and wiped out many houses."

Also damaged in the flood was the S√πng ƒêô chapel in the Nghƒ©a L·ªô District. The church’s pastor, Father Joseph Nguy·ªÖn Tr·ªçng D∆∞·ª°ng, described the damages to his parishioners, which is largely made up of H'Mông people.

"About 20 families have lost their homes and their rice paddies. The family of Mr Cứ A Chu, who has 13 children, lost home, rice field and gardens. People have little rice left to eat and unclean spring water to drink."

On July 27, Auxiliary Bishop Alsphonse Nguy·ªÖn H·ªØu Long of H∆∞ng Hóa visited the small mountain community of S√πng and the missionary area in T·∫£ Ph·ªùi. The areas are notably poor and remote. The bishop encouraged the residents to persevere during this difficult time.