Coronavirus shutdown leaves Hanoi construction workers stranded

By Ngoc Thanh   August 9, 2021 | 11:27 am GMT+7
Unemployed construction workers wait in cramped huts under Hanoi’s baking sun for the Covid lockdown to be lifted.
Ten workers live in these huts, located in Duong Noi Ward, Ha Dong District, Hanoi. Coming from many provinces like Dien Bien, Son La, Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Thai Binh, they have been jobless since the capital city imposed a social distancing campaign to contain the spreading coronavirus.

Ten workers live in this hut in Duong Noi Ward, Ha Dong District.
Hailing from provinces like Dien Bien, Son La, Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, and Thai Binh, they have been out of work since the capital mandated social distancing to contain the coronavirus. Many could not go home because of the semi-lockdown, expensive bus tickets and quarantine rules.

As the city has suffered from a heatwave, their fans always run at full capacity.

Amid a heatwave in the city, their fans are always on and at maximum speed.

A misting system is installed by their employers, hoping they can sleep well on hot days.

A misting system has been installed by their employer.

Vu Van Nghiep, 53-year-old worker from the northern province of Nam Dinh, sleeps on his hammock.  According to Nghiep, before the semi-lockdown, two people in his group, including a 60-year-old man, had spent VND400,000 buying a bicycle and traveled 160 kilometers to their hometown in Nam Dinh.  Those staying back in Hanoi have stand still because they are afraid they would be fined if venturing out.  A worker earns VND250,000 per day, but if they stay at home, they earn none, Nghiep said.

Vu Van Nghiep, 53, is a worker from the northern province of Nam Dinh.
He says before the semi-lockdown began two people in his group, including a 60-year-old man, paid VND400,000 ($17.44) for a bicycle and pedaled 160 kilometers to Nam Dinh, their hometown.
Those staying back in Hanoi "have stayed put because they are afraid of being fined if they venture out."
A worker could earn VND250,000 per day if they work, he adds.

Some of them help others cut their hair.

They cut each other’s hair since barbershops are closed.

Lo Van Thuan from northern Dien Bien Province shaves his head to save soap and water.

Lo Van Thuan of Dien Bien Province shaves his head "to save soap and water."

It is the harvest season at home but I cannot return. My wife and my one-year-old child live there, and I do not know how to go home if the social distancing campaign continues, said Vang A Tong, 24, from Yen Bai northern province.

Vang A Tong, 24, of Yen Bai Province says: "It is the harvest season at home, but I cannot return. My wife and one-year-old child live there, and I do not know how I can go home if the social distancing continues."

They use space in front of their huts to shower and wash their clothes in the afternoon, the only time of the day that they go out.

They shower and wash clothes in front of their huts in the afternoon, the only time of the day they go out.

I felt okay when going to work, but now eating and lying here make me feel tired, a worker said. Their employers support each worker up to VND40,000 for their daily meals.

"I felt okay when I was going to work, but now eating and lying here make me feel tired," one worker says.
Their employers provide each worker with up to VND40,000 for their food.

Giang A Pha, 21, calls his family in northern Son La Province. A bus in My Dinh Bus Station can take me home, but the price is VND1.5 million, then I will have to spend VND800,000 for the Covid test. I would rather stay here to save money, said Pha, arriving Hanoi several days before the semi-lockdown.

Giang A Pha, 21, calls his family in Son La Province.
Pha, who arrived in Hanoi just several days before the semi-lockdown, says: "A bus in My Dinh Bus Station can take me home, but the fare is VND1.5 million. Then I will have to spend VND800,000 for the Covid test. I would rather stay here to save money."

Living in these huts, workers must borrow electricity from nearby houses. Local authorities have provided them with eggs, rice, and shopping vouchers.

Living in these huts, workers must get electricity from neighbors. Local authorities provide them with eggs, rice and shopping vouchers.
Hanoi began its 15-day social distancing order starting July 24, 2021, amid rising coronavirus threats in the capital. The local authorities last week decided to extend the order until August 22.
As of Monday, the city has recorded 2,005 Covid cases in the current outbreak beginning late April.

 
 
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