Last weekend's flooding of many city streets has many residents worried and questioning the effectiveness of the new drainage system that Ho Chi Minh City is installing.
A resident on District 10's Le Hong Phong Street said it was usual to see flooding in her area.
ââ‚¬Å“But we don't know why the street is still flooded even after giant drains were dug," she said, looking at the street that was submerged by up to 0.4 meters after a three-hour downpour on Saturday.
Many other citizens around the city, especially in Binh Thanh and Tan Binh districts, are wondering the same thing.
Saturday's downpour caught the city unprepared, submerging streets both in the inner city and the suburbs, leaving many vehicles stranded for hours.
The city's flood control center on the same day blamed the flooding on the unusual timing of the downpour and the fact that many infrastructure works were underway on the streets. It also blamed the inadequate drainage system for the problem.
Commenting on the issue, Dang Ngoc Hoi, HCMC Water Environment Project's management division head, said although new underground drains have been installed for Le Hong Phong Street, they have not yet been linked with those on nearby streets.
Once the drains are connected early next year, the whole network will be able to effectively prevent flooding in the area, Hoi said, noting the situation is the same on An Duong Vuong, Chau Van Liem and Su Van Hanh streets.
The US$270.3-million environment hygiene project involves installing pipes to carry wastewater to the city's waste treatment plants.
Digging work for the drainage project, which is expected to help alleviate flooding in the area around Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal, was started in May last year and the project is slated for completion by December this year.
Le Toan, deputy director of the city Transport Department and head of the East-West Highway and HCMC Water Environment project, said the closing of Ben Nghe Canal for the construction of the 1.5 kilometer Thu Thiem Tunnel was among the reasons for the flooding in the city center.
On Saturday, major streets like Le Loi, Nguyen Hue, and Pasteur were under 0.3 meters of water.
But Toan said the new drainage system proved effective to some extent, pointing out that the water receded faster than usual even though the canal was not reopened.
To Van Truong, former head of the Southern Irrigation Planning Institute, said the severe flooding showed that infrastructure was not keeping pace with the city's development.
He said the city has failed to make necessary preparations such as having the canals dredged or clearing the drainage system to deal with the unusual downpour.
As a result, although the downpour was not too heavy, the city was already flooded, he said, noting "a disaster could happen if the city received 200 millimeters of rainfall during high tides."
Sunday's rainfall was measured at 117 millimeters by the Southern Hydro-Meteorological Center.
The city must have systematic solutions to the problem of flooding, he said.