In Hue people’s memories, the 1999 flood was a terrible one that caused severe damage. The flood inundated 10 cities and provinces in the central region, causing 595 deaths, including 352 in Thua Thien–Hue and 73 in Quang Nam, damaging 41,846 houses, and sweeping away 570 schools.

Le Kha Phieu

The Rong Village in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province.

Thua Thien–Hue suffered the most from the historical flood. The Hoa Duan dam breakdown cleared away Hai Thanh Village with 64 houses, and 14 people were killed.

Tran Van Thu, 54, in Rong Village, still remembers the traumatic upheaval that happened to his family. “On the night of September 25, 1999 on the lunar calendar, water began flooding in the village, sweeping away people and houses. I was swept away by the floodwaters to the sea and then washed ashore by the waves."

“I saw the whole village submerged in a sea of water. Discovering some power wires heaving on floodwater, I tried to swim to cling to the wires and I luckily escaped death,” he recalled.

Houses have put up national flags. Incense sticks have been quietly lit on ancestral altars. Rong Village’s people are grieving after hearing about the passing of former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu.

Luckily surviving the historic flood, Thu lost 12 relatives who died, including his parents, his wife, three children and brothers.

Just days later, after severe damage and misery for the people of Thuan An waters, Le Kha Phieu, who was then Party Secretary General, led a delegation of officials that visited the area.

 

“Witnessing the devastation caused by the flood, Phieu instructed central agencies to urgently build houses for people and not to let people stay homeless,” Nguyen Van Van, 50, said.

Implementing Phieu’s instructions, in December 1999, soldiers in Military Zone 4 started construction of a new village as a resettlement area for 64 households.

Just three months later, households that had lost homes and relatives in the flood had a new village located in Thuan An Town.

Phieu came to visit the new village which still did not have a name.

Phieu asked villagers: “What should we call the village?” People said: “Shall we call it Lu? (Flood)”.

Phieu said Lu was a reasonable name since the village was built because of the flood. But the name would remind people of sad memories. Phieu suggested calling the village Rong (Dragon) as people were preparing to receive the new Year of the Dragon and he hoped the village would develop rapidly like a dragon.

Thu said over the last 20 years, Rong villagers have always remembered Phieu’s affection towards the local people. 

Quang Thanh

National mourning held for former Party Chief Le Kha Phieu

National mourning held for former Party Chief Le Kha Phieu

The respect-paying ceremony for former General Secretary of the Party Central Committee Le Kha Phieu started at 8am, August 14 at the National Funeral Hall in Hanoi, Thong Nhat Hall in HCM City and 25B Hall in Thanh Hoa.