VnExpress International
The most read Vietnamese newspaper
Contact us |
Follow us on            instagram

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

By Vo Thanh   May 11, 2021 | 06:00 am PT
For over two decades 1,000 families on Hen Dune, an islet in Hue’s Huong River, have had to live with crumbling infrastructure.
Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

Hen Dune lies to the east of the Hue Citadel.

A plan to turn the islet into a tourism site and relocate the locals, drawn up in 1998, remains on paper.

Several foreign investors have come looking to invest in the project, but dropped out due to the massive compensation amounts involved.

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

The Phu Luu Bridge is the only link between the people on the islet and the outside world, and it has severely deteriorated.

The Hue Dune was expected to be developed into a major tourism site, according to Phan Ngoc Tho, chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue People's Committee.

But densely populated neighborhoods and the low quality of infrastructure in the area, which is barely enough to meet local residents’ needs, have proved to be challenges.

But Tho said the plan to develop the dune in accordance with the tourism plan and stabilize the lives of its people is intact.

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

At around 2 a.m. every day locals begin to steam basket clams for selling to rice and noodles vendors.

They traditionally caught the clams in the Huong River, but many have stopped due to changes to the water environment. The clam steaming places now often get the clams from other places.

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

Hoa, 62, brings basket clams and the broth derived from them at 4 a.m. to sell to rice and noodles vendors. Every day her family steams over 400 kg of fresh basket clams.

She said: "We've been steaming basket clams for over 26 years. Steamed clams must be sold immediately after, and so we do it at midnight so we could deliver them to businesses early in the morning."

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

Locals at the Hen Dune often take a ferry across the Huong River to Dong Ba Market in Phu Hoa Ward and Con Market in Phu Cat Ward to sell their clam products and other food items.

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

Truong Van De, 56, eats lunch with his family after steaming clams.

De, the third generation of a family to live on the Hen Dune, said: "The basket clam population in the Huong River is declining with the operation of the Thao Long anti-salinity dam. Many people on the dune have stopped catching clams and pursue other jobs."

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

A badly deteriorated cultural house in a neighborhood in Vy Da Ward due to the heavy rains and floods last year. It is now abandoned, and could collapse at any moment, according to locals.

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

Nguyen Thi Hong Xuan, 80, at her home, which now has an attic for refuge in case of floods.

She said: "When the rains and floods come, Hen Dune was among the most inundated areas. During last year's flood, my house was under a meter of water, but luckily we had the attic to escape to."

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

For the past several decades locals have been using the Huong River for bathing and washing clothes.

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

On the east of the islet, people grow plants and vegetables like corn and banana, thanks to the fertile soil due to the alluvium from the river.

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

Nguyen Van Chua, 70, said farming corn is his family’s main livelihood despite living in the city. Every day his wife delivers corn to Dong Ba and Con markets.

Life goes on in Hue islet despite infrastructure limbo

After over two decades in limbo, the Hue Dune now resembles a village while nearby Hue town is filled with skyscrapers. It has seen no infrastructure changes.

Amid recent concerns about coronavirus outbreaks, turning the islet into a tourism site needs to be done gradually, Tho said.

 
Enjoy unlimited articles and premium content with only $1.99 Subscribe now
 
go to top