Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

By Staff reporters   December 26, 2019 | 08:00 am GMT+7
VnExpress International presents a selection of pictorial stories that runs the gamut of emotions the nation experienced in 2019.
Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Party time: An ardent fan celebrates Vietnam's victory over Jordan in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup on January 20 in Hanoi. It was the first time since 2007 that Vietnam had made it as far as the quarterfinals of the tournament. A quarterfinal 0-1 loss against four-time champions Japan ended the Asian Cup journey, but marked a football resurgence that the nation proudly woke up to. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Apocalyptic parting: A group of boys play tag between parting waves. An art installation built with more than 168,000 used straws highlighted the environmental apocalypse wrought by Vietnam's overuse of plastic, especially single-use plastic. The project, called "Parting of the Plastic Sea," held in Saigon during the last week of January, was an initiative of Benjamin Von Wong, a Canadian artist.

His first social impact project in Vietnam was organized by Zero Waste Saigon, a Saigon-based NGO that aims to raise awareness about the waste created by single use plastic and offering eco friendly solutions in Vietnam. ZWS and Wong believe the consequences of massive amounts of plastic used and dumped into landfills and oceans will be faced and felt by future generations. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

It stinks: A woman walks past tons of garbage that piled up along Nguyen Trai Street in Hanoi's Thanh Xuan District in January. Garbage got stuck along many streets in Hanoi for days as residents blocked trucks from entering Nam Son Landfill, the biggest such facility in the city, in protest against worsening living conditions in its vicinity.

Living near the landfill for two decades, protestors made a stand against the city's failure to relocate them last year as promised and to announce compensation rates for their agricultural land. The 20-year-old landfill sprawls over 157 hectares (390 acres) to receive almost 5,000 tons of garbage a day and will not be able to take in more after December 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

People, people everywhere: A sea of humanity returning to Ho Chi Minh City and its neighboring provinces from the Mekong Delta chokes traffic on National Highway 1A on February 10, the last day of the 2019 Tet, the Lunar New Year holiday, to get back to work. There's currently only one expressway connecting HCMC and the Mekong Delta, the two economic hubs of southern Vietnam. The Trung Luong expressway, opened in 2010 to ease regular holiday congestion on National Highway 1A, connects to the highway in Tien Giang Province. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Boys will be boys: Torn up mats are thrown out to the front yard of a shrine before villagers push, pull and compete against each other for mat pieces, believing that it would help them beget boys in Phu Lien Village, Tam Duong District, Vinh Phuc Province in northern Vietnam. The practice is part of the Duc But festival held annually on the eighth day of the first lunar month, which falls on February 12 this year. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

International diplomacy: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves goodbye, before stepping into his train at Dong Dang station in Vietnam’s northern province of Lang Son, close to the Chinese border, to travel back to Pyongyang on March 2 after spending five days in Hanoi, attending the second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump and paying his first official visit to Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Red faced: Le Van Phuc, a worker on the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line, the first in HCMC, on a hot April day. Saigon and many other localities across Vietnam suffered a heat wave in the early and middle parts of this year and saw temperature records being broken on April 20 when the mercury hit 43.4 degrees Celsius, or 110 degrees Fahrenheit, in the central province of Ha Tinh. Following the strong heat waves, many parts of the nation saw alarming ultraviolet indexes exceeding 12, levels that could cause eye damage, overheating and dehydration. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Beatific beatitude: A statue of Buddha Amitabha under construction at the Khai Nguyen temple, Son Tay District, 43 km (27 miles) west of downtown Hanoi in March. At a height of 72m (236 feet), the 13-storey Buddha statue will become the tallest Buddha statue in Southeast Asia, potentially attracting large numbers of devout Buddhists as well as tourists for many years to come. Work on the statue began in 2015 and is expected to take four or five more years to complete. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Glowing peace: Thousands of monks and nuns chanted Buddhist scriptures after ten thousand people lit up over 40,000 flower lanterns. The flower lantern festival was one event in the celebration of the U.N. Day of Vesak 2019, which commemorates the birth of the Buddha. This year's event was hosted by Vietnam and held at the Tam Chuc Pagoda in the northern Ha Nam Province on May 12-14. The festival took place in the pillar garden in the heart of the pagoda, praying for peace in the country and the world. Photo by Reuters/Kham.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Dark deeds: Water in the Cai Lon River in Hau Giang Province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta turns blackish and stinky in May. Local authorities later identified a sugar mill of Long My Phat Sugarcane, Sugar and Ethanol Joint Stock Company in the province as the culprit. It was constantly discharging a large amount of untreated effluents into the river and its branches. An industrialization rush without accounting for environmental consequences has seen many such disasters beset the country over the last three decades. Photo by VnExpress/Thuan An.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Uncertain future: The 134-year-old Bui Chu Cathedral, 78 meters (256 feet) long, 27 meters wide and 15 meters tall, with 35-meter-high towers, in the northern province of Nam Dinh made headlines in May after a plan for it to be demolished and rebuilt was announced by the local diocese.

The decision to tear down the venerated church proved controversial, with many activists, including architects, calling for its conservation, given its special historical, artistic and cultural values. Eventually, the dismantling plan was put on hold, and there has been no official announcement on whether the cathedral will be demolished or not. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

On fire: Fire engulfs a forest in Ha Tinh Province late June. Several forest fires broke out in the central region of Vietnam during June as the result of a heat wave and a particularly dry and hot foehn wind. Four fires broke out in over 100 hectares of forests in Thua Thien-Hue Province on June 28 after a series of forest fires broke out the same day in other parts of the central region, from Da Nang City to Ha Tinh. Photo by VnExpress/Sach Nguyen.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Due homage: U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink burns incense at the Truong Son Cemetery in Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam, August 27, making him the first U.S. ambassador ever to visit the cemetery. More than 10,000 Vietnamese soldiers killed during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) have been laid to rest in the cemetery in Gio Linh District, a major theater of the war. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Toxic disaster: Smoke billows above the light bulb warehouse of Rang Dong Light Source and Vacuum Flask JSC, located in a residential area of Thanh Xuan District in Hanoi’s inner-city area on August 28. Caused by a short circuit, the five-hour blaze that started at 6 p.m. destroyed a third of the warehouse, releasing an estimated 15.2-27.2 kilograms of mercury into the environment.

The incident caused Rang Dong, a leading manufacturer of lighting products and equipment, an estimated loss of $6.4 million and haunted people in the affected area even after authorities reported no case of mercury poisoning. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Unearthly: Nu Dan Cong Street, around 20 kilometers from downtown Saigon in August. About two kilometers long, the street has around 100 holes, each about four meters wide, forcing people and vehicles to move around and through them. "It's the rockiest road on the planet," said Thai Van Tong, a local.

The holes are the result of hundreds of trucks using the street to get to construction sites every day and they become a bigger burden during rainy months. Solutions to improve the condition have stopped at authorities’ promises to upgrade the drainage system along the street and increase surveillance to prevent overloaded trucks going in and out of the area. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Barred: Tourists are disappointed after being prevented from entering the Hanoi's Train Street on October 10. The Train Street, a section of railway tracks in the capital's Old Quarter that runs between Dien Bien Phu and Phung Hung Streets just a few feet from houses on either side, had achieved iconic status before it was closed on safety concerns. In recent years, cafés had opened up along the tracks to serve tourists who sat and enjoyed their drinks in close proximity to railway tracks and watched the train passing by.

Transport authorities in Vietnam now say the residences along those tracks are a violation of railway corridor traffic safety and the relocation and resettlement of households living along the railway corridor is an "urgent" task. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Acrobatic: Vietnam’s midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai performs a volley from a tight corner to score the only goal for Vietnam in a match against Malaysia, earning Vietnam a victory in their second qualification match for 2022 World Cup in Hanoi on October 10. Hai was widely applauded by both fans and critics for his performance.

Vietnam now stands top of Group G with 11 points, followed by Malaysia with nine points, Thailand eight, UAE six and Indonesia zero. The second qualification round kicks off in March next year. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

A new start: Hanoi's first metro line, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong route, begins a 20-day commercial operation run for inspection purposes on October 28. Built by Chinese contractor China Railway Sixth Group Co Ltd, the line runs 13 kilometers from Cat Linh Station in downtown Dong Da District to the Yen Nghia Station in the southwestern Ha Dong District. This is said to be the final trial for the line to get it ready for commercial operation, expected to begin next year.

Work on the line began in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013, but several hurdles, including loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017, stalled it for years. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Reduced to rubble: The house of Nguyen Thi My of Tuy Phuoc District, Binh Dinh Province was severely damaged after storm Matmo made landfall in the south central region on October 30. District authorities reported 99 collapsed houses and 224 others unroofed or otherwise damaged. Heavy rains and flash floods triggered by the storm left two people dead and another missing, according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control. Vietnam has been hit by seven storms so far this year, with Matmo arriving fifth. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Disconsolate: A neighbor comforts Nguyen Thi Duong as she lies and cries at her home in Nghe An Province in central Vietnam on November 7 after receiving confirmation that her son Nguyen Tho Tuan had died in the U.K. truck tragedy. It was officially announced that all 39 people found dead in a refrigerated truck in the Essex, the U.K. in late October were Vietnamese citizens.

The tragedy made headlines worldwide and raised alarming questions on human trafficking and immigration. By the end of November, the bodies or cremated remains of all victims had been brought home to Hai Phong City and Hai Duong Province in northern Vietnam, and the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Thua Thien-Hue. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Manmade disaster: A man sails a small boat to catch fish even as dead fish float in the black waters of what used to be the Nhue River in Hanoi in November. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had said in 2016 that 800,000 cubic meters of wastewater, of which 550,000 are untreated household wastewater, are dumped into the river every day, and a report the same year by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment said water quality in certain sections of the river was "abysmal."

Hanoi dumps around 1.2 million cubic meters of wastewater per day, 900,000 cubic meters of which is domestic wastewater and only 22 percent of this is treated, meaning that the rest is dumped directly into rivers and lakes, according to the Hanoi Sewage and Drainage Company. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Packing a punch: Vietnamese Muay Thai ace Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat (L) throws a left head-kick at Malaysia's Azwan Che Wil at the ONE Immortal Triumph Championship Saigon at Phu Tho Stadium, HCMC, on September 6. The event in HCMC marked the first time Vietnam was hosting a ONE event. ONE Championship is Asia's largest global sports media property with a global reach of 2.6 billion potential viewers across over 145 countries and territories. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Got the moves: Vietnamese dancers Vu Hoang Anh Minh (L) and Nguyen Truong Xuan in action during their single dance final of the "five dance" category at the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the first time that competitive ballroom dancing was part of the event in 12 years. The couple won two silver medals for Vietnam in different categories.

Vietnamese athletes across different sports shed their blood, sweat and tears to help their country finish second in the medals tally at the SEA Games held in the Philippines in November and December, which 98 gold out of its total of 288 medals. The nation's joy was heightened when both the men's and women's football teams won gold medals. Photo by Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha.

Tragedy and triumph in Vietnam: A 2019 pictorial flashback

Thickly polluted: Saigon's iconic tower, Landmark 81, Vietnam's tallest building with 81 floors, and other skyscrapers are shrouded by a haze on December 12. The southern metropolis and its sister Hanoi have had air pollution indexes soaring to dangerous levels, especially since September. The Air Quality Indexes recorded in the country's largest cities by IQAir AirVisual, a Switzerland-based air quality monitoring facility, frequently stayed above 150-200. AQI levels above 100 are considered unhealthy. On AirVisual scales, the cities had even stood top of the list of cities with the worst air quality in the world, out of more than 10,000 monitored in late September. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

 
 
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