US veterans donate $28,000 for central Vietnam flood relief

Over $28,000 were collected from over 110 Americans in a charity drive for flood relief in central Vietnam.

The campaign was organized by Ron Haeberle, the American photographer best known for capturing the My Lai Massacre in 1968, with assistance from Chuck Searcy, co-founder of Project RENEW, an organization that deals with unexploded ordnance left from the Vietnam War, according to a Thursday press release.

The funds would be distributed in Quang Tri Province by Project RENEW staff and in Quang Ngai Province by Quang Ngai Red Cross, it was added. Distribution in Quang Tri would begin on Jan. 25, while a check would be delivered by Project RENEW to Quang Ngai on Jan. 15, it said.

"We were moved by the images of mud slides, and water trapping villagers on the roofs of their homes and water roaring through village streets carrying away trees, furniture, animals and villagers themselves," Haeberle said. "I have been committed to doing all I can to help the people of Vietnam ever since I personally witnessed American war crimes at My Lai."

Last year, central Vietnam, particularly the provinces of Thua Thien-Hue, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Quang Ngai and Quang Nam, were wrecked by a series of storms and tropical depressions.

The resulting floods and landslides killed at least 192 people and caused property losses of around VND30 trillion ($1.3 billion). More than 1,500 houses were destroyed and 240,000 others damaged. The daily lives of around 5.5 million people were severely disrupted.

The Vietnamese government has provided around VND770 billion to the region as emergency relief. Many international organizations and countries like the U.S., U.K. and Australia also provided aid to help residents resume normal life.

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