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HCM City: will $5 billion drive floods away?

More than 10 years ago, HCMC began applying a series of measures to fight against floods and improve the environment, worth trillions of dong. The road beds have been raised, while more water drainage outlets have been built in depression areas. However, money has gone, but floods have stayed.

Money has gone, but floods have stayed
Money has gone, but floods have stayed

HCMC has spent trillions of dong to implement many large projects and hundreds of small projects to prevent floods.

In 2011-2015, three projects capitalized at VND22.948 trillion in total, included the ODA second phase of the water environment improvement project funded by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), the second phase of the environment sanitation funded by the World Bank and the Tham Luong – Ben Cat waste water treatment plant.

In 2016, a ‘super-project’ on fighting against high tides was kicked off with the contract value of VND10 trillion.

The HCMC Anti-Flood Center, and other departments and agencies, including the city’s transport department, district people’s committees and ODA-funded projects also poured money into anti-flood projects.

However, the municipal authorities still said it needed VND73.379 trillion more to implement anti-flood projects under Program 752 and Program 1547.

According to Do Tan Long from the Anti-flood Center, the capital needed to implement the two programs is up to $5 billion.

In the last few years, the money was used to implement anti-flood projects in the central area, 550 square kilometers large. In the next years, the capital will be arranged to implement the projects in the suburbs.

Long said the HCMC Transport Department has recently drawn up an anti-flood project with the most updated input data.

The department, together with the agriculture department, have been assigned by the municipal authorities to check and adjust Programs 752 and 1547 to fit the new socio-economic development conditions in the new period.

When asked when HCMC can stop the floods, Long said when the two programs are implemented, the problem will basically settled.

Long said there are many reasons behind the floods – heavy rain, high tide, the badly-done canal dredging, the uncontrolled littering and encroachment on canals which cause the water flow stuck.

An official of the District 12 People’s Committee said the flooding on Nguyen Van Qua street is a headache. The committee, in addition to speeding up the implementation of the projects suggested by the Anti-flood Center, has asked for permission to build two pump stations and a reservoir to settle the problem.

In district 9, though a water drainage system has been put into operation since 2016, the Do Xuan Hop street still suffers from flooding.