Lawmakers downbeat on Hanoi's flood prevention capacity

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The Hanoi People's Council on Wednesday expressed disappointment and pessismistic assessments of the capital city's ability to prevent flooding despite making huge investments.


The meeting of the city legislature opened the day after a torrential rains lasting three hours submerged many streets in the city's center.


In the most tragic incidents during the downpour, three women were electrocuted that day inside homes that were flooded.


"The city has promised [it will eliminate flooding] many times with large investments, but the rains showed that there has been no change in the conditions," representative Vu Duc Tan told the meeting.


Nguyen Viet Hung, another representative, said Hanoi's project to improve drainage systems had no effect despite long-standing complaints and criticism by representatives made at many meetings.


The project was launched in 1998 with a total investment US$1.2 billion. Its second phase was expected to be completed in 2013. 


"I have no hope that Hanoi's drainage will improve within the next ten years," Hung said, pointing out that the city's current solution was mainly to fix locations after they suffered flooding.


Representative Ngo Van Ny also criticized related agencies for not preparing multiple solutions to deal with flooding after the historic floods in October, 2008 that killed 17 people and submerged many streets and houses in up to nearly two meters of water.


Ny was concerned about Hanoi's capacity to prevent floods during its 1,000th anniversary celebrations to be held over ten days this October, with less than 100 days to go.


Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee, Nguyen The Thao, meanwhile, told the press on the sidelines of the meeting that the anniversary would fall during the dry season, but "the city will have specific plans to prevent floods."


However, Thao didn't elaborate on these plans.


Beautification mess 


The whole city is beautifying itself by tiling pavements and paving streets, but in reality, the streets are being destroyed with such measures, Pham Thi Thanh said at the meeting.


Many streets have been dug up a dozen of times within a short time, she said.


Agreeing with Thanh, Ny criticized the beautification work as wasteful, noting that even as agencies rushed to tile pavements, old bus stations were left in dilapidated condition


Nguyen Quoc Hung, director of the city's Department of Transport, said all agencies have been ordered to complete their beautification works by the end of this month.

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