Compensation from Taiwanese fish killer to reach Vietnamese fishermen next month

By Nguyen Hoai   September 2, 2016 | 12:35 am PT
Compensation from Taiwanese fish killer to reach Vietnamese fishermen next month
A villager shows dead sea fish he collected on a beach in Phu Loc District, in the central province of Thua Thien Hue on April 21, 2016. Photo by AFP
The toxic disaster has hit at least 200,000 people in central Vietnam, including about 41,000 fishermen.

Fishermen and their families who have been squeezed by the mass fish death disaster caused by the Vietnam unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group last April are set to receive the compensation in October.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel has grabbed headlines for causing one of the biggest environmental disasters in Vietnamese history, killing tons of fish across four coastal provinces. The company’s test-run led to the discharge of toxic substances into the sea, including phenol, cyanide and iron hydroxide.

Formosa has officially apologized to the Vietnamese people and promised to pay $500 million in compensation to make up for the damage. The firm also promised to compensate local people for economic losses, help them find new jobs and subsidize clean-up activities.

Formosa has already wrapped up the delivery of its $500 million compensation package to Vietnam, the Vietnamese government portal reported Wednesday, quoting Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha.

“We are doing our best to make sure that the affected provinces will get the compensation in early October,” Nguyen Ngoc Oai, a senior official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Thursday.

He added that the funds will be allocated to the right people with priority to be given to those who are suffering the most.

The toxic pollution has hit at least 200,000 people, including 41,000 fishermen, where it hurt most: their pockets.

In a report sent in late July to the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature, the government said that around 18,000 fishing boats with some 41,000 fishermen and over 176,000 people dependent on them have been affected by the incident.

Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, the four affected provinces, have been asked to submit their reconstruction plans and damage assessments to the ministries of finance and agriculture and rural development by September 15.

The ministries, in collaboration with other government agencies, have been asked to review the provinces’ reports and submit their proposals for allocation of the compensation package to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in the last week of September.

Fishermen from the affected provinces may be allowed to borrow money, which is equivalent to 90 percent of the cost of a new fishing boat, with annual interest rate of 1 percent.

They may also be financially supported to switch to other jobs, such as going to work overseas, according to a proposal drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Related news:

Taiwanese fish killer completes $500 million compensation package

Toxic disaster from Taiwanese company affects 200,000 people: Vietnam gov't

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