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Riverbank subsidence scares Mekong Delta residents

Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 13:45 GMT+7

Several areas of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta have been affected by serious subsidence along local tributaries while others face the threat of the same thing.

Severe land collapses along the banks of the Tien (Front) River and Hau (Back) River, the two major rivers of the Mekong Delta, as well as other waterways in the region have left many locals homeless.

In the most recent case, a total of 14 houses, not 16 as reported previously, were sunk after a section of the Vam Nao riverbank in My Hoi Dong Commune, Cho Moi District, An Giang Province, subsided last weekend.

About 108 households in the affected neighborhood have been evacuated from their homes for the sake of their own safety.

Local schools, pagodas, and other families have offered shelter for the victims until permanent solution can be provided.

According to Tran Anh Thu, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, there were no casualties in the land collapse as the residents had been asked to leave their homes prior to the incident.

The center of My Hoi Dong Commune is now a ‘ghost town’ after the evacuation, while barricades have also been erected to prevent people from entering the dangerous area.

Local experts have asserted that subsidence would persist in the area.

The provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment have warned that 51 other areas in An Giang are also under threat of potential riverbank collapse.

Local authorities have carried out measures to assist the affected households and avoid zoning at-risk areas for the construction of new homes.

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The collapsed riverbank in My Hoi Dong Commune, An Giang Province where 14 houses were sunk. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Living in fear

In Dong Thap, the province lying along the Tien River, subsidence has been an ongoing problem for residents in Binh Thanh Commune, Thanh Binh District.

Several collapses along the river bank have occurred this month, putting the lives and property of hundreds of residents in jeopardy.

Although no house was sunk by the phenomenon, over 15 families are set to be evacuated from their homes, while the provincial People’s Committee has ordered close monitoring of the situation.

Residents in Long Thuan Commune, Hong Ngu District, have also been eating and sleeping in fear as subsidence occurs every year in the area.

According to Nguyen Huu Hanh, chairman of the Long Thuan administration, measures are sought to assist some 300 households situated along the bank of the Tien River.

Authorities in Dong Thap have been cooperating with the Institute of Coastal and Offshore Engineering to figure out measures to cope with the issue.

They have also asked the central government to provide financial assistance for those residents living in the at-risk neighborhoods. 

Located along the Hau River, Phu Thanh and Luc Si Thanh Communes in Vinh Long Province have always been hotspots for subsidence.

Locals often attributed the problem to the excessive exploitation of sand in the river section.

Roan Ngoc Chien, director of the Vinh Long Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the agency is monitoring the affected area as well as considering adjustments to local river dredging activities.

Meanwhile, Vo Thanh Ngoan, deputy director of the provincial agricultural department, stated that the collapse of land occurred naturally, adding that it would continue in the future and be exacerbated during flood seasons.

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