Living in fear in Hai Phong's old apartment blocks

By Giang Chinh   December 13, 2016 | 07:37 pm PT
Crumbling apartment blocks from a bygone era are a serious risk to residents.

Vietnam's northern port city of Hai Phong is home to 169 apartment blocks that were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Time has taken its toll on the Soviet-style buildings, and most of them have fallen into disrepair.

The city’s Department of Construction is looking at ways to relocate around 3,000 residents and build new apartment buildings.


Iron “aviaries” attached to old walls are a signature part of old apartments in Vietnam.


The extensions were added by the owners to hang the laundry.            


The old apartments are located mainly in Ngo Quyen District. In the picture is the front wall of a 5-story building on Da Nang Street.


Over time, the ceilings of the apartments has been damaged, revealing concrete and steel.


The apartment buildings were designed with only one staircase.


The balconies are covered by steel cages, and the power supply is suspect.


Many apartments are so old that their owners have to tarp to prevent rainwater from leaking into their houses.


The buildings were constructed 45-50 years ago, and each flat covers an area of 21-32 square meters.


Residents have to utilize outdoor areas such as hallways and staircases to cook.


Before a flood hits the city, local authorities evacuate 311 Da Nang Street to the opposite high school.


Ngo Minh Tuan, a resident of block 311, said that his 21-square-meters is too small for his extended family with three generations. He has to borrow space on a neighbor’s terrace for his two children to study.


Le Thi Chat, 90, one of the first residents of building, said that she is waiting for city authorities to find her a new, safer house.

Photos by VnExpress/Giang Chinh

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