Delay in acquiring lands slows down Saigon’s flood-proofing projects

By Minh Nga   June 1, 2019 | 04:58 pm PT
Delay in acquiring lands slows down Saigon’s flood-proofing projects
Streets are flooded in Ho Chi Minh City's District 2 after a heavy rain on May 7, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Major projects meant to stop Ho Chi Minh City’s chronic flooding have fallen behind schedule because of delays in land acquisition.

Nguyen Van Truc, director of the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, tasked with appraising the projects, said all are stuck at the stage of acquiring land. 

They include projects to deal with floods caused by high tide and an embankment on the Saigon River in District 2.

In all cases, investors have had to start work in areas where they have already got clear land or the parts that are under water, leaving the areas that are still not cleared for later.

"Delay in land acquisition has largely affected the construction process," Truc said.

The Saigon River embankment project had planned to acquire the entire land required by March 2017, but has yet to do so.

Truc said that if District 2 authorities failed to transfer further land by June 30, construction will have to stall.

This year the city plans to spend VND8 trillion ($345 million) on 218 projects  to combat flooding in six locations in downtown areas and parts of the outskirts.

The projects require 550 square kilometers (212 square miles) that are currently home to 6.5 million people.

They include upgrades to drainage systems, building ponds and fixing flood-prone streets in Districts 1, 7, Tan Phu, Tan Binh, Thu Duc, and Go Vap.

The city will use its own funds and solicit investment through public private partnerships for the projects.

For years scenes of people wading through or getting stuck on flooded streets in their motorbikes or cars during high tides or heavy rains have been common in HCMC.

Laurent Umans, first secretary, water and climate change, at the Dutch embassy in Hanoi, said at a meeting last August that it was possible a major part of the city would lie below sea level in 50 years’ time, turning it into a swamp.

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