Plight of Gulf Coast Vietnamese Refugees,
old memories revisited in 2005

We at Viettouch mourn with our fellow Gulf Coast Vietnamese families for their tragic losses of loved ones and friends from hurricane Katrina.

While they have survived the brutal Viet Nam war as refugees in America and coped with forcible relocation in initially hostile communities along the Gulf Coast, still these indomitable Vietnamese Americans found the will to scratch out a living as fishermen, shrimpers, and seafood plant workers and rebuild their lives under untold harsh circumstances. Twenty-five years later, these Gulf Coast Vietnamese have once again found themselves as refugees for the second or third time, and remained largely ignored by the authorities and public, save fellow Vietnamese Americans around the country. These hearty Gulf Coast Vietnamese communities lost an incalculable number of fishermen, shrimpers and family members to the angry sea and surging waves. Their fishing boats are nothing more than splintered bits of wood that littered the roads and shoreline, their homes reduced to a slab of cement, or a wooden stump, and their meager possessions are no more. It is a testament to their characters and gentle spirits that even in the midst of a life-and-death struggle with the hurricane, remarkably, some Vietnamese shrimpers also reached out to rescue a Louisiana Cajun shrimper and his wife.

We know only too well about the uncertainties of the refugee life, being alone without any possessions or assets, and having to rely on wits and will to survive in an unfamiliar environment. We recognize the resilience of countless Vietnamese families that lost their loved ones during and after the war to continue to forge ahead. We are now on a different timeline and in 2005, these Gulf Coast Vietnamese refugees have us. We can make a valuable difference by extending our collective helping hands to them.

These Vietnamese Americans are, by extension, our families and loved ones, and they need our collective help to repair their broken lives, rebuild their boats, and restore their homes. The fishermen of Viet Nam from the coast of Vung Tau to Nha Trang have already reached out with their heartfelt support of the Gulf Coast Vietnamese fishermen and shrimpers.

We at Viettouch request your urgent support of the forgotten and neglected Gulf Coast Vietnamese American working class along with fishermen and shrimpers and their loved ones to recover from hurricane Katrina. We strongly believe that your donations must reach these Gulf Coast Vietnamese Americans directly without any bureaucratic delay and cost. Your help will assure these Vietnamese refugees that they can control their lives again, reclaim their hope, and rebuild their boats and homes.

These Gulf Coast Vietnamese deserve to receive medical treatment, clean clothing, food for their families, infants, children and elders, basic toiletries, a safe place to sleep, and our reassurance that they are not forgotten in the large tragic aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

On behalf of the entire Viettouch family, thank you for caring and reaching out to our own during their time of needs. We also thank friends of the Vietnamese people for their support.

 

Duyen Le
Chi D. Nguyen
Tuyet A. Ngoc Tran

© 9/8/2005, USA