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Saigon airport flooding blamed on lack of coordination

By Duy Tran   May 23, 2019 | 01:20 am PT
Saigon airport flooding blamed on lack of coordination
Tan Son Nhat Airport is submerged after a heavy downpour in August 2016. Photo by Khanh Bang
The Tan Son Nhat International Airport is frequently flooded because of ‘unsynchronized infrastructure’ and lack of communication by authorities.

Hua Quoc Hung, vice chairman of the Tan Binh People’s Committee, said that the district was seeing the implementation of multiple drainage projects for the airport through several canals, including A41, Hy Vong, Tan Tru and Nhat Ban.

But the infrastructure inside and outside the airport was "unsynchronized," as these projects are helmed by many different units, each doing its part without following a common guideline, he said at a meeting on Wednesday.

Hung said drainage pipes installed for the A41 canal lie lower than the canal, for example. As a result, rainwater flows from outside into the airport, while it is supposed to flow the other way round.

As the units responsible for construction inside the airport do not inform local authorities beforehand, construction has been carried out in inappropriate places, he said.

Pham Duc Hai, vice chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee, said several drainage projects in Tan Binh District are going "very slowly."

"Projects that have been approved since 2016, like the ones dealing with A41 or Tan Tru canals, are not progressing at all," Hai said.

He said preventing flooding is part of maintaining the airport's security and is a priority for Saigon's urban development, but Tan Binh has not collaborated with relevant authorities well enough to solve the problem.

The Airport Corporation of Vietnam has put the Tan Son Nhat Airport in charge of fixing the construction inside the airport to guarantee that all parts match with each other and function effectively.

The Tan Son Nhat International Airport is a frequent victim of flooding. In 2015, heavy rains flooded several parts of the airport, with water rising to as high as 20 centimeters, threatening to compromise the airport’s power generators, and prompting employees to barricade the area with sand bags. Littering that blocked canals around the airport was often blamed as one major cause.

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