Earthquake fear drains investments from central Vietnam

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Investors are abandoning projects in the central province of Quang Nam due to concerns over rising building costs and safety in the area, the hub of earthquakes that have plagued the province for over a year, said an official.

VnExpress on December 14 cited Dang Phong, chairman of the People's Committee of Bac Tra My District, as saying there have been at least three companies that have pulled the plug on projects.

According to Phong, construction expenses have soared by at least 30 percent as they now have to meet earthquake-resistant standards established by the Construction Ministry, discouraging investment in the area.

Many investors had sought permission from local authorities to build supermarkets, and factories for producing garments and footwear before the quakes began last year.

The local government has been saving a prime 2,500-square-metter site in the heart of the Bac Tra My District for interested firms, said Phong.

The local people's committee recorded nearly 1,000 cracked houses and construction sites damaged by tremors over the past year.

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According to a Vietnamnet report, the latest quake, measuring 2.9 on the Richter scale, struck the district on December 9. Experts said a local hydropower plant may be causing the earthquakes.

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