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HCMC struggles with flood control
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HCMC struggles with flood control

File photo of a salvage truck on a flooded road in Tan Binh District, HCMC. Heavy rain in the past two days has submerged many parts of HCMC under water - PHOTO: LE ANH

HCMC – Heavy rain in the past two days has submerged many parts of HCMC under water while anti-flooding projects are stalled, Tuoi Tre Online newspaper reports.

Weather expert Le Thi Xuan Lan said rain plus high tides would make floods worse in the city, especially in this rainy season.

A Thanh Nien newspaper report says many streets in districts 2, 9, Thu Duc and Binh Thanh were inundated after torrential rain on May 7. Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District suffered as heavy flooding as ever despite the presence of a massive water pump which the city had hired from Quang Trung Industry Group Joint Stock Company.

Nguyen Tang Cuong, director of Quang Trung Industry Group Joint Stock Company, attributed the flooding to high rainfall and garbage which obstructed sewers.   

Rainwater should have been pumped to the Saigon River within 30 minutes in line with the standards of the Ministry of Construction and the contract signed with the HCMC government, Cuong said.

Another local firm, Trung Nam Group, the developer of a major flood tide control project worth nearly VND10 trillion (US$439 million) in southern HCMC, has suspended construction work, citing a decision of the Saigon branch of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) suspending loan disbursement for the project.

The project will build six floodgates and nearly eight kilometers of dyke to improve flood tide control in districts 1, 4, 7, 8, Nha Be and Binh Chanh and deal with rain-triggered floods.

Trung Nam originally promised to complete the project by April 30 if the company had as sufficient cleared land as planned. However, Trung Nam general director Nguyen Tam Tien in February said the project could not be completed as scheduled due to the unavailability of cleared land for supporting structures.

Phan Cong Bang, head of the Waterway Traffic Management Division under the HCMC Department of Transport, said the project suspension is affecting vessel traffic.

Besides, two water drainage projects around Tan Son Nhat International Airport have come to a standstill.

HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong held a meeting with BIDV, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and relevant agencies. The HCMC government directed relevant agencies to facilitate site clearance compensation.

However, the obstacle to loan disbursement has yet to be removed, Tien said on Tuesday, and when work on the project resumes is unknown.

BIDV attributed the capital disbursement suspension to the city government’s delay in confirming the completed workload of the project. The lack of this confirmation rendered the bank helpless to ask the central bank to offset interest for the preferential loans BIDV offered for Trung Nam.

HCMC has two anti-flood plans, with one building 12 floodgates and some 170 kilometers of embankment, and the other developing 6,000 kilometers of water drain by 2020.

The city currently has only 3,600 kilometers of water drain, according to the HCMC Steering Center of the Urban Flood Control Program.

To cope with 18 existing flood-prone sites, the city has set up 56 pumps with an hourly capacity of 168-84,000 cubic meters and 1,077 tidal valves and sluice gates such as Binh Loi, Binh Trieu, Rach Lang, Rach-Ruot Ngua and Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe.

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