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Ho Chi Minh City poised to pull down hundreds of old tenements

Monday, September 05, 2016, 14:27 GMT+7

Ho Chi Minh City is set to rebuild at least 237 of its oldest apartment buildings by 2020, resulting in better safety and convenience for residents.

The municipal Party Committee has ordered that a minimum of 50 percent of 474 dilapidated apartment complexes across the southern hub be demolished and re-built.

The city’s Department of Construction has announced the results of its inspection of several run-down buildings deemed high risk.

One apartment building on Tran Hung Dao Street in District 5 was evaluated as dangerously run down and required to be demolished urgently.

Residents at the venue had been well aware of the building’s poor condition with cracks growing larger inside the walls over the passing decades.

The staircase is dark and can only fit one person while the building materials of several balconies can easily be separated and fall onto people or vehicles traveling below.

According to Tran Nghieng Nhan, a resident of the apartment building since 1961, her 16 square meter studio is where her family members eat, sleep, and conduct their small textile business operations.

As authorities are set to renovate the structure, Nhan hoped that she could resettle elsewhere in order to keep her business operation from being affected.

“We fully acknowledge the dangerous condition of the building but cannot afford to rent a new place for the entire family,” the woman said.

At another apartment building on Long Hung Street in Tan Binh District, a heave mold odor is easily noticeable upon entering and residents are often reminded to walk in safe areas to avoid potential accidents.

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A resident collects fresh water from a makeshift system at an apartment building on Long Hung Street in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A strange set of pumps and water meters connected with a system of pipelines can also be spotted in the hallway, which was established by the residents when the water system of the building broke down.

The entrance to the parking garage and stairway is also so tiny that anyone who wants to pass must lower themselves into the structure.

Difficulty in reconstruction

Situated in a prime location in District 4, the Vinh Hoi apartment complex has been a target of many investors in the city.

However, none of them have been able to bring a new face to the old building given the difficulty in dealing with the resettlement of 240 households inside.

According to the municipal Department of Construction, renovating the dilapidated apartments would help ensure safety for local residents and improve the urban esthetics and environment.

Results of efforts over the past 10 years have been limited however due to the high cost of compensation and resettlement for the owners.     

Current policies do not encourage investors to get involved in the reconstruction of such badly degraded buildings.

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