Poverty-stricken district plagued by suicides

Last update 15:46 | 02/09/2017

Authorities of Gia Lai Province’s Kon Chro District are struggling to deal with suicide in the locality, with hundreds of locals having killed themselves in recent years, with poverty in the region seen as the root cause.

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Dinh Thi Eo sits in her house in Gia Lai Province.

Statistics from the district showed nearly 450 people, including children, reportedly committed suicide since 2014. Since early this year, 69 cases have been recorded, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported.

Dinh Trieu, 12, of the district’s Ya Ma Commune, committed suicide by drinking herbicide in May, shortly after his parents shouted at him because he accidentally broke the mirror of a local resident’s motorbike.

Dinh Thi Eo, 40, Trieu’s mother said the mirror only costs VNĐ45,000 (US$2). She and her husband only wanted to warn their son.

“We just wanted him to not be a naughty boy damaging others’ property,” she said.

“But we did not know he was badly hurt by our words,” she added.

Another local, Dinh Biec, a middle-aged woman, recently killed herself by drinking herbicide after a quarrel with her husband.

Six months later, Biec’s husband also killed himself, leaving their six children orphans.

Doctor Phan Van Choi, director of the district’s Kon Chro Health Centre, said that most people who drank herbicide to commit suicide would not survive even if they were taken to the centre..

“Herbicide contains very toxic chemicals that can quickly destroy human’s internal organs quickly,” he said.

According to doctors, dying because of drinking herbicide is very painful as patients are conscious until they die.

Causes and solutions

Nguyen Van Dai, deputy head of the district’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation, said poverty was the root cause of the situation.

When people live in poverty, they often become pessimistic about the future, he said.

“And then a minor conflict can lead them to spontaneous decisions,” he said.

In the meantime, Dinh Tho, Secretary of the commune’s Party Committee, said low literacy levels was thought to make people think dying is a way to end their conflicts.

But they forget to think about consequences after they died, such as how their relatives will live without them, he said.

In response to the situation, Dai said the commission began disseminating programmes to raise public awareness of the consequences of committing suicide.

The programmes instruct people to treasure their lives, send children to schools to raise their knowledge, and work harder to escape from poverty, he said.

Kong Chro District is the poorest district in the province, with the poverty rate at 55.3 per cent.

Under the poverty standard applied for 2016-20 period, households in rural areas with monthly income below VNĐ700,000 ($30) per person are considered poor.


*The names of the dead have been  changed.

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