Vietnam to dole out compensation to citizens hit by Formosa's toxic spill

By VnExpress   October 1, 2016 | 07:03 pm PT
Vietnam to dole out compensation to citizens hit by Formosa's toxic spill
Fishermen and their families who have been squeezed by the mass fish death disaster caused by the Vietnam unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group last April are set to receive the compensation in October. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao
People whose livelihoods have been lost due to the disaster will receive a monthly payment soon.

Those affected by Formosa’s environmental disaster will likely receive their compensation within weeks, if not days, after a long wait since the company first promised $500 million in damages.

The government has decided to allocate VND3 trillion ($133.6 million) to four coastal provinces devastated by the toxic spill, which in turn will disburse payments to their own residents.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel (FHS), the Vietnam unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, has been blamed for causing the disaster and killing tons of fish in the central region.

FHS took full responsibility in late June and since has paid $500 million to the government as compensation.

Reports have shown that the pollution has affected at least 200,000 people, including 41,000 fishermen, living along the four central provinces, where it hurt most: their pockets.

But paperwork has been a barrier standing between FHS’s money and the suffering fishermen.

The affected provinces -- Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue -- have been asked to submit their post-disaster plans and damage assessment reports to the ministries of finance and agriculture by September 15 to facilitate the compensation process. However, the paperwork has yet to be completed.

Vu Van Tam, the deputy agriculture minister, said it would take at least until October 15 for the assessment to finish and after that the provinces would be able to collect their money officially.

But to speed up the process, the government has decided to advance the fund of VND3 trillion.

Earlier this week, the official compensation rates had been announced. Fishermen who have lost their jobs will receive up to VND9 million a month while boat owners can get  more than VND39 million per month.

Salt farmers, seafood traders and tourist service providers will also be recompensed.

Local media quoted officials as saying that a large part of the money from FHS would be spent on measures to help the damaged marine ecosystems recover.

Related news:

> Compensation from Taiwanese fish killer to reach Vietnamese fishermen next month

> Taiwanese fish killer completes $500 million compensation package

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