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Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

By Dac Thanh   November 3, 2022 | 11:21 pm PT
Erosion triggered by Storm Nesat that struck last month has killed one person after pulling five houses into a river in the central Quang Tri Province.
Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

An eroded area along the bank of the Thach Han River in Quang Tri as seen in early November.

Storm Nesat approached Vietnam in mid-October and devolved into a tropical depression over the waters off the central coast on Oct. 19. Its caused erosion at eight spots along Thach Han River that stretch 4,750 meters in combination, threatening the safety of 142 families and 28 hectares of farmland.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

Incense sticks are placed in an area where erosion claimed a man's life.

On late Oct. 16, three houses and two shops were pulled into the river, killing Vo Loi, 44, and injuring his 12-year-old son. The eroded area measures 80 meters long and 20 meters wide.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

More than two weeks after the deadly accident, Pham Ba Chung (L) and his brother collect reusable items from Chung's house, one of three washed away by erosion.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

After losing their home, Chung's family has relocated to his mother's pigsty.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

An erosion warning.

After the deadly accident, 38 families have been evacuated.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

Dung used to run a restaurant by the river but due to erosion risks, she has had to evacuate, which means she has lost her business premises.

These days, she sells take-away food in the front yard of a relative's house.

"This is just temporary and I really don't know what to do next. It's hard, really," she said.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

Ngo Thi Hien, 66, stands in her house in an area designated as at risk and whose residents need to be evacuated.

"I've been living here [in Hai Le Commune] for 66 years and never witnessed such terrifying erosion," she said.

As a grocer, Hien has no choice but to stick to her riverine house despite the obvious risks. At night, she stays with her son who lives nearby.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

Erosion destroyed a dyke in Hai Le Commune.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

The eroded dyke lies 2.5 meters from a road running through the commune.

To ensure safety, local authorities have banned vehicles with loading capacities exceeding 2.5 tons from passing through the area.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

A man rides a motorbike near a resettlement project in Hai Le Commune.

In 2016, Quang Tri Province spent VND39 billion ($1.57 million) building a resettlement area in Hai Le to house 60 families that lost their homes to floods and erosion but until now, only five houses have been occupied.

The resettlement project provides each family a half-finished house and a fund of VND20 million.

Pham Ba Chung, who has just lost his house to erosion, said his family could not afford to complete the house, even with the aid.

"Given the current market price, it would cost VND400 million to build a house that is solid enough to endure storms," he said, adding the government should raise the aid so more people could get access to the resettlement project.

Fatal erosion puts riverine community in danger

A sand mining boat moves past an eroded area in Hai Le.

Local residents said sand mining should be partially blamed for erosion along Thach Han River.

To cope with the situation, Nguyen Hong Son, a local official, said he has ordered related units to evaluate the impacts of sand mining on the river to come up with suitable solutions.

The town has also asked for a fund of VND287 billion from the provincial budget to build five new dyke sections along the river.

The Vietnam Disaster Management Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said Monday the coastline that runs through nine localities along Vietnam's central strip has suffered 63 cases of erosion that measure a combined 97 kilometers due to the impacts of several storms from late September.

It said most of the erosion occurred under impacts of storms Son Ca and Nesat that struck a few days apart in mid-October.

 
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