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It’s only a matter of time before disaster strikes Hanoi’s dilapidated tenements

It’s only a matter of time before disaster strikes Hanoi’s dilapidated tenements

Thursday, April 15, 2021, 16:11 GMT+7
It’s only a matter of time before disaster strikes Hanoi’s dilapidated tenements
A woman walks down the steps at the B1 building in the Van Chuong condominium area in Dong Da District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Run-down apartment blocks throughout Hanoi pose deadly threats to their residents, yet authorities have no mechanism to step in and save those they are meant to protect.

The capital city is home to 1,579 apartment buildings which were constructed between 1960 and 1992, many of which are in dire need of renovation, according to the municipal Department of Construction.

No work can be done on these buildings without consent from 100 percent of the residents, no matter how deadly or uninhabitable they become, according to the construction department.

Consent is not the only roadblock the municipal Department of Construction faces in its quest to renovate old buildings.

“It takes a long time to technically examine the conditions of severely damaged – also known as level D – apartment buildings," the department noted in a recent statement.

"The government has yet to develop proper regulations on the renovation and reconstruction of apartment buildings using build – transfer (BT) investment mechanisms. 

"It has not either formulated policies on relocating and compensating residents, as well as tasking local authorities with managing the process."

Apartments in many of these buildings have been illegally enlarged, posing dangers to those who live there, according to the department.

An apartment in the Van Chuong condominium area, Dong Da District. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An apartment in the Van Chuong condominium area in Dong Da District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A hallway in the Van Chuong condominium area. – Photo: Nam Tran/Tuoi Tre

A hallway in the Van Chuong condominium area in Dong Da District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran/Tuoi Tre

A stairwell in the Van Chuong condominium area. Due to the inner city’s height limits, most old apartment buildings have five floors. – Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A stairwell in the Van Chuong condominium area in Dong Da District, Hanoi. Due to the inner city’s height limits, most old apartment buildings have five floors. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

The B2 building in the Van Chuong condominium area. – Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

The B2 building in the Van Chuong condominium area in Dong Da District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Many residents in the Van Chuong condominium area have illegally enlarged their apartments. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Many residents in the Van Chuong condominium area in Dong Da District, Hanoi have illegally enlarged their apartments. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Since 2007, 18 old apartment buildings have been renovated and rebuilt while 14 others are under construction.

These projects have investment capital allocated from both the city’s public budget and private funding sources.

Truong Viet Tam, 71, a resident of Ba Dinh District’s Thanh Cong condominium area, said he has been waiting a long time for the city to step in and renovate his building.

“I heard about the city’s plan to renovate old apartment buildings ten years ago but the process is moving at a snail's pace," he complained.

"We want city authorities to accelerate the process for highly degraded buildings.

"Hanoi has more than 1,500 old apartment buildings, it would be impossible to renovate them all at once."

Le Hoa, 67, a resident of the Giang Vo condominium area in the same district, pointed out difficulties in convincing the residents of level-D apartment buildings to give up their homes while the apartments are rebuilt.   

“It should be based on the majority’s decision to decide whether an apartment is rebuilt," she said.

"It is too dangerous to live inside these shabby apartments.

“In the long term, city authorities should ensure the livelihoods of residents displaced by these projects.”

The façade of block A in Ba Dinh District’s Ngoc Khanh condominium. – Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

The façade of block A in Ba Dinh District’s Ngoc Khanh condominiums in Hanoi. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Sinking has cause an apartment building in Ngoc Khanh to tilt. – Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Sinking has cause an apartment building in Ba Dinh District’s Ngoc Khanh condominiums in Hanoi to tilt. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

A building in Thanh Cong Condominium Area, Dong Da District. – Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

A building in the Thanh Cong condominium area in Dong Da District, Hanoi. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Shops at the ground level of a building in the Thanh Cong condominium area, Ba Dinh District. Old apartment buildings are the homes and livelihoods of many households. – Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Shops at the ground level of a building in the Thanh Cong condominium area in Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. Old apartment buildings are the homes and livelihoods of many households. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Enlarged apartments in Ba Dinh District’s Giang Vo condominium area from Tran Huy Lieu Street. – Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Enlarged apartments in Ba Dinh District’s Giang Vo condominium area, as seen from Tran Huy Lieu Street in Hanoi. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

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