Saigon’s $440 million anti-flood project delayed due to relocation trouble

By Huu Cong   February 25, 2018 | 09:09 pm PT
Saigon’s $440 million anti-flood project delayed due to relocation trouble
Work at Saigon's anti-flood project is hitting site clearance trouble. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Cong
The project was scheduled for completion in April, and now millions of people face more days under water.

Ho Chi Minh City’s much-awaited flood prevention project is going to miss its April deadline due to relocation issues in the area designated for construction, the project's investor said.

“We won’t be able to finish the project by April 30 as promised. We do not have the ground for construction,” said Nguyen Tam Tien, CEO of Trung Nam Group, the developer of the VND10 trillion ($440 million) project.

“This is beyond our control,” Tien said.

He said that the project is 68 percent complete and that once the necessary land is made available, it will take his workers a further six months to finish.

The project covers 100 hectares (250 acres) in Districts 1, 4, 7, 8, Binh Chanh and Nha Be. Site clearance was supposed to be completed by July last year, but hundreds of families and many businesses in District 7 have yet to be relocated.

Work on the project started in June 2016 and was first scheduled for completion in June 2019, but the city’s leaders asked for the deadline be moved forward to summer 2018, saying the chronic flooding must be resolved as soon as possible.

The project involves building a new drainage system and adding more pumping stations that will be able to keep a 750 square-kilometer area in the downtown and along the Saigon River dry. Around 6.5 million people, or half of the city’s population, will benefit from this.

Ho Chi Minh City is vulnerable to flooding, and many of its streets are transformed into small rivers almost every time it pours or the tide rises.

According to local media, the city will need up to VND97.3 trillion ($4.38 billion) for flood prevention projects by 2020.

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