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Flood control brick wall fences off thousands in Ho Chi Minh City

Flood control brick wall fences off thousands in Ho Chi Minh City

Monday, June 06, 2016, 19:19 GMT+7

Hundreds of households along a main street in Ho Chi Minh City have been fenced off by a brick wall in preparation for a large-scale road surface elevation, the city’s latest attempt to deal with chronic flooding.

A three-kilometer brick wall has recently been erected along Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District to make way for an upcoming road surface elevation project.

The project is part of the city’s latest attempt to deal with chronic flooding caused by downpours and high tides that affect the lives of millions living in sunken areas in the city.

The wall has blocked the entrance to houses on the street, turning ground floors into basements and forcing businesses to close down, with some residents putting up ‘for sale’ signs due to the uninhabitable conditions.

Some have made temporary measures to cope with the situation, by either building their own ‘overpass’ to get into and out of their homes, or by completely destroying the ceiling of the ground floor, which has been towered over by the newly built wall.

Some stretches of the wall rise as high as over one meter from the ground, the height to which the road surface will be elevated.

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

A house is fenced off entirely from the street by the wall on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Tien, a grocery store owner on the street, said construction workers began building the wall about a month ago, leaving only a small gap to access his house.

“My house was built to last so it’s very hard to renovate,” Tien said. “I’m worried that my ground floor will turn into a basement once they finish construction.”

Many other residents and business owners have also complained about the negative impact the wall will have on their lives and business.

In response to the complaints, the Steering Center of the Urban Flood Control Program, the manager of the project, said that it had temporarily put the construction on hold to await directions from the municipal People’s Committee.

The project manager’s representative confirmed, however, that the construction of the wall was in line with blueprints approved by the city’s transport department, which specify that the height of the new road would be two meters in the middle and 1.7 meters on either side.

The representative added that the wall was built to prevent sand and stones from infiltrating residents’ houses during construction, as well as marking the new height of the elevated road.

According to Nguyen Minh Nhut, vice chairman of the Binh Tan People’s Committee, the district had held a meeting with local residents to announce the road surface elevation project prior to its commencement, and 90 percent of households had agreed to move forward.

“Perhaps they didn’t anticipate how high the new road surface would be until the wall was actually built,” Nhut said.

According to Nhut, over 500 households will be affected by the project, which elevates three kilometers of road surface from 0.4 to 1.3 meters.

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

The entrance to a kindergarten on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City is almost blocked by a wall. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

A house has its ground floor ceiling removed to make room for living after being towered over by the wall on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

A house on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City with a ‘for sale’ banner hung at the front. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

An automobile showroom is fenced off entirely from the street by the wall on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

Residents use a wood plank to get a motorbike across the wall on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

An optics store is fenced off entirely from the street by the wall on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

A closed shop on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City with a sign posted outside announcing their new location. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

Construction workers are seen building the wall in front of a house on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Những hình ảnh khó tin ở Sài Gòn

A woman steps over a narrow gap in the wall to get out of an ATM booth on Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City on Friday signed a contract with Ho Chi Minh City-based Trung Nam Construction Investment Corporation (Trungnam Group) to carry out the first phase of a tidal flood control project in the city.

The project’s investment capital is nearly VND10 trillion (US$446.3 million), and it is expected to control flooding in an area of 570 square kilometers that houses around 6.5 million residents.

The contract will be financed in the BT (build-transfer) model, in which the contractor will use their own capital for construction and be paid later by the city with money and land.

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