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Central Vietnam villagers remain homeless two years after flash floods

By Pham Linh   July 20, 2022 | 05:00 pm PT
Almost 120 families in central Vietnam have been living in makeshift houses on other people's land two years since flash floods swept their houses away.

On a rainy day in mid-July, Dinh Van Tuong, 42, came to check the wood he had hoarded since late 2020 to make sure it is not damaged.

He had spent VND30 million ($1,285) on the wood, planning to build his family a new house when he got a piece of land.

Tuong’s is one of 56 families in Ra Pan Village (Son Long Commune, Son Tay District) who completely lost their houses in flash floods that hit Quang Ngai Province in Oct. 2020.

Since then, his six-member family has been living in a makeshift hut built temporarily on an acquaintance’s land.

They get water from a stream nearby for daily use and the local authorities provide them electricity at a preferential price.

He and other villagers were promised new land lots to build new houses, but the promise has remained on paper for two years.

Dinh Van Tuong checks the wood he had hoarded to build his family a new house in Son Tay District of Quang Ngai Province July, 2022. Behind him is the makeshift hut his family has been living in the fo the past two years. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh

Dinh Van Tuong checks the wood he had hoarded to build his family a new house in Son Tay District of Quang Ngai Province July, 2022. Behind him is the makeshift hut his family has been living in for the past two years. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh

Living next to Tuong are Dinh Van Thap, 27, his wife and their three-year-old child.

Thap said he hoped authorities would grant him and his neighbors that land they’d been promised so that they could settle down soon.

Also in Son Tay District, more than 60 households in Son Bua Commune lost their homes to landslide during the 2020 floods.

The district had prepared plans to build two resettlement projects on a total area of eight hectares at the cost of VND65 billion ($2.78 million), but the projects, like the earlier promises, remain on paper.

Bui Thanh Van, head of the project management board for construction investment and development of land fund in Son Tay, said that the district, being a mountainous one, was prone to landslides and earthquakes, making it difficult to find a site that was safe and at the same time, to the people's liking.

It took almost one year since the flash floods for the district to find a suitable site and start implementing the two resettlement projects, However, so far, one is 70 percent complete and the other one has just been finished by half.

A resettlement project for flood-hit residents in Son Tay District of Quang Ngai Province is left half-finished in July, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh

A resettlement project for flood-hit residents in Son Tay District of Quang Ngai Province is left half-finished in July, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh

Son Tay deputy chairman Dinh Truong Giang said that they were urging contractors to boost progress and soon complete those resettlement areas.

Quang Ngai is among six central provinces that were hit by unprecedented floods and storms for over a month in 2020.

Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, and Quang Ngai have estimated that between late September and mid-November, storms destroyed more than 1,500 houses and damaged 240,000 others besides destroying farms and killing many heads of livestock and poultry.

The losses exceed VND30 trillion ($1.29 billion), officials said in late Nov. 2020.

 
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