Vietnam city agency draws flak for failing to stop flooding

By Mai Vong - Dinh Phu, Thanh Nien News

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Nguyen Huu Tho Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 7 was flooded during high tides early this month. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Nguyen Huu Tho Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 7 was flooded during high tides early this month. Photo: Diep Duc Minh

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Ho Chi Minh City’s transport department has come under fire for failing to come up with solutions for the chronic flooding in parts of the city in its role as a think tank for the government for anti-flooding work. 

A number of houses along National Highway 50 in Binh Chanh District’s Phong Phu Commune lie 50-100 centimeters below the newly-elevated road.

It was for the second time in seven years that the Department of Transport raised the highway to prevent it from being flooded during river high tides.

Local residents lament that they will have to cough up VND100 million (US$4,700) to raise their houses too if they do not want them to be flooded during high tides.

People living on Le Van Luong Street did so in 2009 after the street, running through Districts 7 and Nha Be, was raised to keep it above the tide.

But when the tide reached a peak of 1.7 meters on October 10 this year, the road became a lake.

An official from the city’s finance department, who asked not to be named, told Thanh Nien that every year the city allots around VND5 trillion ($235.4 million) to the transport department and more than VND1 trillion to the Center for Flood Control Program.

Many plans they submit relate merely to raising roads, he said.

At a meeting Tuesday Nguyen Huu Tin, the city's vice mayor, criticized the transport department for failing to come up with effective flood control measures.

“The transport department is a think tank for the city government in terms of anti-flooding work. But it has yet to propose any [good] solutions.”

He gave the department 10 days to come up with plans for a seminar where local and foreign specialists could discuss emergency solutions to tackle the worsening flooding.

He also ordered it to coordinate with the planning and architecture department and immediately do a study on creating two lakes to store water in the Khanh Hoi area of District 4 and Thu Thiem in District 2.

Studies to create two others in Thu Duc and Binh Chanh would be done later, he said.

Nguyen Hoang Anh Dung, deputy director of the Center for Flood Control Program, told the meeting that flooding has been eliminated at 33 vulnerable areas since 2011.

Another 27 flood-prone areas need fixing, he said. Of them, 14 have begun to flood again despite anti-flood projects in the last few years, he added.


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