Saigon vulnerability to flooding worsens

By Ha An   October 23, 2020 | 08:00 pm PT
Saigon vulnerability to flooding worsens
Motorcyclists are seen moving along To Ngoc Van Street of Thu Duc District that is flooded after heavy rain on September 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
HCMC’s flooding problem was exacerbated in the first nine months this year, with an additional 18 routes getting inundated during heavy rains.

The total of 35 routes that got flooded between January and September was more than double the 17 recorded during the same period last year, according to a report submitted by the municipal Department of Construction to the city’s legislative body – the National Assembly council.

Most of the newly flooded routes were in districts 7, 12, Binh Chanh, Go Vap, Nha Be, Thu Duc and Binh Thanh.

The number of rainy days in the nine-month period was 110, compared to last year’s 128, but the total amount of rainfall recorded was 33 percent higher at 1,184 mm.

The report noted that the number of streets submerged by seasonal tide dropped from 14 to only four: Le Van Luong in District 7, Dao Su Tich in Nha Be District, Nguyen Van Huong in District 2, and Binh Quoi in Binh Thanh District.

The flooding problem has worsened despite the city approving more than VND7 trillion ($304 million) for the 2016-2020 period to fight urban flooding.

A VND10-trillion much anticipated anti-flooding project that covers 100 hectares (250 acres) in districts 1, 4, 7, 8, Binh Chanh and Nha Be is still under construction. The long-delayed project, which started in 2016, was expected to be completed this month, but there is no sign of it happening.

In August, the construction department had proposed an additional surcharge for each cubic meter of clean water to ease the financial strain and improve fund for drainage system management. The city’s drainage system is expected to expand to nearly 2,100 square kilometers, three times bigger than originally planned to address the flooding issue.

Vo Kim Cuong, HCMC's former deputy chief architect, said last month that the city’s flood control planning has been implemented in very tardy fashion. As a result, even places in high terrain areas like Thu Duc District have suffered much worse flooding in recent years, he said.

While the existing drainage system is outdated and is yet to receive proper investment for upgrading, more concrete buildings have come up across the city, reducing its drainage capacity, Cuong explained.

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