Resort developer has Nha Trang on tenterhooks with explosive site clearance

By Xuan Ngoc   April 9, 2021 | 06:00 pm PT
Resort developer has Nha Trang on tenterhooks with explosive site clearance
The area on Hon Ro Mountain in Nha Trang Town is seen from above. Photo by VnExpress/Vinh Thanh.
A resort developer in central coast Nha Trang has employed explosives for purposes of site clearance, drawing wide-spread disapproval from stressed out locals.

In the 45-square-meter mountainside home of Dang Quang Huy, 34, growing cracks spread across the walls and subsiding floor of the bedroom, living room and kitchen.

"I don't remember how many times I've repaired my house in the past year since a nearby resort project started triggering quakes and rock falls," he said.

Around 400 meters from Huy's house, the luxury resort project covering 24 hectares, funded by Ho Chi Minh City-based Green World Corporation, was granted an investment license in 2012. Subsequent construction on the Haborizon resort and villa project on Hon Ro Mountain began a year ago.

The wall of Dang Quang Huys house suffers many cracks after the investor of the resort project explodes mines for site clearance, April 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc.

The wall of Dang Quang Huy's house suffers many cracks after the investor of the resort project explodes mines for site clearance, April 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc.

Huy said the use of explosives twice a day caused soil and rocks to rain down onto neighborhood roofs, covering everything in a permanent layer of dust. According to him, no resident had been informed about the commencing blasts.

When an explosion would occur, Huy and his wife would rush their two sons outside.

"We have to run from these explosions like during wartime," he complained.

Huy's home was built seven years ago for nearly VND300 million. It collapsed twice due to Typhoon Damrey in 2017 and landslides in 2018. The self-employed family had to then borrow nearly VND100 million to restore the damage.

After informing local authorities and the project investor, and despite an inspection of the impacts on his home, neither solution nor compensation has been suggested.

Huy's family is one of 70 households suffering the effects of resort construction.

In the Thanh Phat Village home of Nguyen Van Ngoc, 41, both living room and bedroom walls feature three-centimeter-wide cracks. With the foundation also subsiding, Ngoc has turned to iron and cement for reinforcement.

Boulders dislodged by blasting have accumulated around his house.

He and his wife had settled in the area more than 10 years ago, enjoying a humble existence until resort construction disrupted their lives.

"My family has been on tenterhooks thanks to the ongoing explosions," Ngoc stressed, adding the environmental pollution and noise was unbearable.

Trucks carrying soil and rock from the construction site typically pass through the residential area, leaving behind a blanket of dirt. In addition, a ditch was dug to divert wastewater from the construction site down to neighborhoods at the foot of the mountain where many trees have been chopped down, causing a risk of flooding during the onset of torrential rains.

"Many deadly landslides have occurred in Nha Trang. Therefore, during the stormy season, we are extremely worried," Ngoc said.

Pham Van Phi, head of the project management board, said provincial authorities had licensed the unit to employ 64.5 tons of explosives and 20,000 detonators of all kinds to destroy part of the mountain and facilitate construction.

Blasting typically occurs three to four times a week. To date, about 500 kilograms of explosives have been detonated, reduced to 296 kilograms as requested by provincial leaders, Phi said.

The company would work with local authorities to compensate affected families, he said.

Inspecting the site on April 7, Nguyen Tan Tuan, chairman of Khanh Hoa, said, "The investor has ensured safety to minimize the impact on nearby families." However, he asked the investor to check and repair all homes damaged due to construction activities.

Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province along the central coast has emerged as a famous beach destination in Vietnam in recent years, resulting in a large wave of property and resort developers flocking to initiate luxury tourism projects.

However, the town is vulnerable to natural disasters like landslides and flooding. At least 17 had been killed in Nha Trang due to landslides triggered by heavy rain caused by the Toraji typhoon in 2018 while 44 died when the Damrey storm, one of the deadliest typhoons in Vietnam, hit the province in 2017.

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