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Vietnam man raises floor to prevent house becoming ‘underground bunker’

A Ho Chi Minh City man has raised his house floor over one meter higher than the road surface to cope with rampant flooding and relentless road surface elevation.

Huynh Thanh Xuan (sitting half-naked), 60, has had the floor of his house, located in Alley 162, Tan Hoa Dong Street in District 6, lifted 1.4m higher than the road surface.
Huynh Thanh Xuan (sitting half-naked), 60, has had the floor of his house, located in Alley 162, Tan Hoa Dong Street in District 6, lifted 1.4m higher than the road surface.

Huynh Thanh Xuan has had the floor of his house, located in Alley 162, Tan Hoa Dong Street in District 6, lifted 1.4m higher than the road surface.

Xuan, 60, said the approach is his foresight solution to cope with the district’s relentless flooding and the city’s projects of elevating road surfaces.

“My neighbors thought I was crazy to do that. The alley and road where my former house was located were elevated three times during some 10 years. The area suffers serious flooding, so from my calculation, the current house’s floor height will help my residence ‘survive’ some three or four times of road surface elevation because the city elevates the road surface once every five or six years,” he explained.

Xuan added another man also raised his floor by several centimeters around four years ago, and his house’s floor is now on the same level as the road surface after it was elevated.

The old man’s 28-year-old son said his father had intended to raise the floor by 1.8m, as he considered 8 a lucky number.

However, Xuan’s wife talked him out of the plan, as the floor would be too high then.

A number of roads and alleys in the southern city have been raised by one to two meters as part of city planning projects, resulting in many private houses in outer and suburban areas being literally turned into underground homes.

Such weird-looking houses are easily spotted on newly-built roads such as Pham Van Dong in Thu Duc District and Pham Van Chi and Lo Gom in District 6.

In the dry season, it is stiflingly hot inside these homes; while filthy, smelly water and sewage often spill into the houses during the rainy season.

Unable to put up with the situation, several families had no choice but to abandon their houses or put them up for sale at low prices.

Those who cannot leave have to suffer. They must creep, crawl, or climb onto chairs or ladders just to enter and exit their houses day in day out.

The climbs prove a real challenge for kids and elderly people, particularly those with chronic, decrepit illnesses.

Some senior citizens have no choice but to stay put in their “underground bunkers” and rarely venture outside to save themselves troubles.