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Ho Chi Minh City’s lack of funding hinders flood control efforts

Ho Chi Minh City’s lack of funding hinders flood control efforts

Friday, May 19, 2023, 22:25 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City’s lack of funding hinders flood control efforts
Employees work at the construction site of the Tham Luong - Ben Cat - Nuoc Len Canal environmental rehabilitation project in Ho Chi Minh City, May 18, 2023. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

More than VND101 trillion (US$4.3 billion) is required to fund 120 flood control and sewage treatment projects in Ho Chi Minh City in the 2021-25 period, but the city’s flood control projects have been allocated a mere VND17.4 trillion ($749 million), according to the municipal construction authority.

The funding shortfall has led to delays facing the flood control projects and an increase in the number of locations vulnerable to flooding.

The construction site of a drainage system project at Tham Luong - Ben Cat canals in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District. Photo: T.T.D / Tuoi Tre

The construction site of a drainage system project at Tham Luong - Ben Cat Canal in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

More flooded areas emerge

Many years prior to 2021, Nguyen Huu Canh Street spanning District 1 and Binh Thanh District was a flooding hotspot that was severely inundated just after a 30-minute downpour.

The situation has been improved significantly after a VND473-billion ($20.3 million) project to upgrade the street and tackle flooding was completed in late April 2021.

Meanwhile, flooding is looming large in many other inner-city and outlying districts.

Some streets such as To Ngoc Van, Vo Van Ngan, La Xuan Oai, Le Van Viet in Thu Duc City, Nguyen Van Khoi, Le Duc Tho, Pham Van Chieu in Go Vap District, or Binh Tri Dong and Ten Lua in Binh Tan District were heavily flooded after downpours.

In Thu Duc City, To Ngoc Van has remained a flooding hotspot for years. 

Similarly, local people get headaches whenever they travel on Vo Van Ngan Street and areas encircling Thu Duc Market during the rainy season due to frequent flooding.

Work on a drainage system project on Vo Van Ngan Street started in October 2020 but it has yet to reach completion, making life tougher for daily commuters.

To Ngoc Van Street in Thu Duc City, under Ho Chi Minh City, is heavily inundated following a rain on May 6, 2023. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

To Ngoc Van Street in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City is heavily inundated following a rain on May 6, 2023. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

In need of over VND100 trillion ($4.2 billion)

Between 2021 and 2025, the southern metropolis needs more than VND101 trillion ($4.3 billion) to implement 120 projects to cope with flooding.

During the first two years of implementing its flood control and sewage treatment program, the city was provided with around VND6.7 trillion ($285.5 million) and managed to tackle rain-induced flooding on five out of 18 streets and high tide flooding on seven major streets.

The municipal Department of Construction said flood control projects were lagging behind schedule mostly due to financial woes, while private investors showed little interest in them.

In addition, the city’s earlier planning on drainage issues is no longer appropriate and did not take climate change into account, thereby not helping flooding abate, the department said.

Workers dredge a sewer along Nguyen Huu Tho Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s Distirct 7. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Workers dredge a sewer along Nguyen Huu Tho Street in Distirct 7, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Multiple pending flood control projects

Although the city already mapped out its plan to address flooding, most of its flood control projects are still pending.

Phase one of an environmental sanitation project related to the Nhieu Loc - Thi Nghe river basin, which was backed by official development assistance loans, has just been completed. Phase two is underway.

Similarly, the city has finished phase one of a project to improve the water environment for the Tau Hu - Ben Nghe - Doi river basin and is working on the second phase.

Meanwhile, site clearance issues are hampering a subproject to revive Hang Bang Cannal and build a drainage system to ease flooding in the Hang Bang river basin.

Cleared land is only fully handed over to the project developer by the end of 2024, said Luong Minh Phuc, director of the management board for the construction investment of traffic work projects in Ho Chi Minh City.

Regarding another project to renovate Tham Luong - Ben Cat - Nuoc Len Canal, it got off the ground in February this year after years of suspension.

Experts in the field suggested that the city should adjust its planning on drainage issues by updating input data and extending the areas in need of flood control measures.

Besides, the city needs to come up with feasible solutions to call on investors to fund flood control projects.

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Hong Ngan - Chau Tuan - Le Phan / Tuoi Tre News

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