High tide floods Vietnam southern hub

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Record high tides in the Saigon River in the past few days have flooded many Ho Chi Minh City streets and caused traffic snarls in many places.

 

According to the Southern Region Hydro-meteorological Center, the tide started rising several days ago and reached a peak of 1.62 meters on Wednesday, higher than the historic high of 1.59 meters recorded last year.

 

Many streets were under 30-50 centimeters of water Wednesday afternoon, which caused gridlock during rush hour.

 

The worst-hit areas were Districts 2, 6, 7, 8, Binh Tan, Binh Chanh, Binh Thanh, and Thu Duc.

 

Many motorbikes broke down and people had to push them in knee-deep water.

 

This year an anti-flooding program was implemented by city authorities, which included measures like installing and operating 615 sluices, building temporary dikes, setting up 28 pumping stations at heavily-flooded sites, and dredging more than 1,000 kilometers of drainage ditches and 57 canals.

 

But for many city dwellers flooding remains a nightmare scenario. According to the agency in charge of implementing the program, the construction of major drainage projects blocked the current and deposited earth in the drainage system, worsening the flooding in these areas.

 

It also blamed the discharge of solid waste into and encroachment of canals and ditches by residents for the flooding.

 

Experts warned that the flooding is worsening because the city's "lungs" are dying.

 

"The marshlands in Districts 7 and Nha Be are the lungs of the city because they are the places where water will flow into, but people have leveled them up to build houses," Nguyen Bach Phuc, chairman of HCMC Science-Technology and Management Consultative Society, told online newspaper VnExpress.

 

"People are killing the city's lungs, which will lead to more serious flooding."

 
To Van Truong, former chief of the Southern Institute for Water Resources Planning, agreed saying floodwaters usually flow into lowlands in case of high tides and heavy rains, but many canals in the city have been choked, reducing drainage. 
 

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