As a high tide peak turned streets into rivers in Saigon on Tuesday, people trudged on.
This was a common scene on a number of streets in districts 4 and 7 in southern HCMC on Tuesday evening. The tide on the Saigon River that flows through the city was at its top at 1.65 – 1.68 meters, according to Vietnam’s Southern Regional Hydrometeorological Center, and the city’s drainage system couldn’t cope.
Nguyen Thi Lan fell off her motorbike on Ton That Thuyet Street in District 4. “It is all flooded and there’s no way I can avoid the potholes on the street,” she said.
The Te Canal that links District 4 and District 7 overflowed onto Tran Xuan Soan Street in District 7. The banner along the canal reads “Do not leave ships at places with ‘No Anchoring’ signs.”
Around 5 p.m., the water on Tran Xuan Soan was higher than motorbike wheels.
Locals used bags of sand to prevent flood waters from entering their homes on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4. “We’ve been doing this every morning and afternoon for a couple days now,” said a resident.
An alley on Huynh Tan Phat Street is half a meter under water. “For the past two days I haven’t been able to sleep well, afraid that the floods can flow into my house. From now until the Lunar New Year (which will fall in early February), there will be more high tides and we will keep living in misery,” Huynh Thi Thuy (pictured) said.
“I had to wade through the floods this morning to take her to school and do it again now on the way back home. This is harsh, really harsh,” Nga said, as she carried her granddaughter on her back.
Truong Thi Nhieu’s family had built a brick wall in an effort to prevent the floodwaters from entering her house, but she had to work hard to bail out the overflow. The Southern Regional Hydrometeorological Center has said the hide tide can last until Saturday and reach its peak twice a day between 4-6 a.m., and in the afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. Many people in Districts 7 and Nha Be had also struggled with the tides on Monday.
But the indomitable Saigonese are also taking the flooding in their stride, apparently. Life goes on with normal activities continuing as though the water’s been there all the time.
In the picture above, residents in a neighborhood of the Thanh Da Peninsula in Binh Thanh District do what they do every day as their feet get submerged in water. “The embankment in this area is damaged at some sections so the floods come in every time there is seasonal tide, either high or low,” said local resident Hoa.
“Flooding is not something strange to my family. There was a time the water even reached my bed when I was sleeping,” said Phung, who owns a coffee shop in Thanh Da.
“My wife and I are very familiar with this flooding and every time it arrives, we just sit back and relax. The most practical solution is wearing boots and sitting on high chair. The toughest part is cleaning the entire house after the water has gone,” said Nguyen Vong Cat, 63.
Time for board games, with the water paid no heed.