A flood prevention agency in Ho Chi Minh City has been strongly complained by local residents as the walls built to serve one of its anti-flood projects are blocking their houses.
As part of the project to elevate Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, the Ho Chi Minh City Steering Center of the Urban Flood Control Program has built walls to mark the new height of the street once the project is completed in front of local houses.
The walls, however, are causing a lot of troubles for many people as they affect their business. In many sections of the street, the walls are over one meter high, making the ground floor of the houses look like basement.
Tien, who runs a confectionary store in the area, said the workers built the wall in front of her house a month ago and only left a small space as entrance to the residence. This has affected her business a lot and also caused a huge difficulty to her family’s entering and leaving their house.
“My house was built with concrete, so it is costly to re-structure it. I am afraid that after the wall and the street outside are completed, my house will become a basement,” Tien said.
Another owner of a steel business in this area also encountered such problem. The concrete wall in front of the house is also too high, making it hard to move the steel and construction materials of the store in and out.
Many residents who cannot afford to elevate the ground floor of their houses have made complaints to the Steering Center. Upon receiving the complaints, the center has postponed the project. On June 3, it also sent a report to the city’s administration to seek advice on the issue.
Representatives of the center, however, said the construction company had strictly followed the design and plan which had been approved by the city’s transportation department. According to the plan, the heights of the street’s center and edge should be 2 and 1.7 meter, respectively. As the current peak tide is at 1.68 meter, such elevation is necessary to prevent the street from being flooded.
Some sections of the street are currently quite low at around 0.4 meter. Therefore they need to be elevated at least 1.3 meter more.
Regarding the brick wall in front of the local residents’ houses, the developer stated that the walls are built with two purposes. The first one is to prevent the construction materials from spreading to the houses of the local residents. The second is serving as a mark for the new height of the street.
According to administration of Binh Tan District, the project will be carried out on a street’s section of three kilometers long and there are approximately 500 households in the area. The total budget for this project is estimated at around VND300 billion (US$13.5 million).
In Feb 2014, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported a photo news story named “Houses accidentally transformed into basements” depicting the problem faced by hundreds of household in this area. Responding to the issue, the Ho Chi Minh City administration has asked many related services and departments to issue regulations to provide support and compensation for the affected families.
However, there has not been any such rule issued and implemented, causing a lot of nuisance and profit loss for the residents and businesses in the area.