Erosion kills 2 in southern Vietnam

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Two people were killed in the Mekong Delta's Can Tho City early Saturday after erosion pushed three houses into a local river.

Cao Thi Thu, 49, an her 5-year-old grandson Nguyen Dinh Tri died at nearly 6 a.m. when an abutment made of soil and rock at the Tra Nien bridge slipped into a river during construction in Phong Dien District.

The abutment has caused an unnatural angle in the river and hard waves have eroded the structure, according to first investigation.

An official from Can Tho Department of Transport said it might have also been because the bridge was too big for the weak river bank.

Nguyen Van Dien, Thu's husband, said there were four people home at the time the house slid into the water.

It happened so quickly that his wife and grandson couldn't manage to escape fast enough, Dien said.

Tran Minh Man, chairman of Can Tho People's Committee, and Bui Hai, head of Phong Dien District party unit, have visited the family and given them VND25 million (US$1,309) in consolation.

The abutment was built with soil and rock, 24 meters underground and four meters above. The Tra Nien Bridge is 10.5 meters wide and expected to open for traffic in late April, when work on all the abutments was scheduled to finish.

Another abutment had broken down in February several days before Tet, sinking four small houses including a café and fruit stores. Some residents moved after that but some stayed.

Severe erosion in the area pulled 13 houses into the river in 2007.


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