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Issues emerge as heavy storms flood parking basements in Ho Chi Minh City

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 14:08 GMT+7

Continual downpours since the beginning of this week have revealed poor drainage systems in several parking basements in Ho Chi Minh City, leading to flooded vehicles and upset owners who have yet to receive the appropriate compensation for their damaged property.

The extreme torrential rains hammering the city since Monday evening have inundated underground parking lots in buildings across the southern hub.

Thousands of cars and motorcycles parked inside the affected garages were damaged by floodwater, leaving parking lot managers unsure of how to assist their clients.

According to the municipal Department of Firefighting Police, at least 21 parking basements were left defenseless against the floods.

A representative for an underground motorbike park on Nguyen Sieu Street in District 1 said that vehicles inside the facility were submerged under floodwater within 10 minutes of Monday’s storms.

The parking lot’s managers compensated owners of the damaged motorcycles with 10 percent of their repair costs.

The representative also expressed his hope that the clients sympathize with the company, noting that flooding was inevitable under such severe conditions.

“We are still unsure of how to deal with similar situations in the future and insurance packages covering parking lots like ours, with such a large variety of vehicles, have yet to be established,” he continued.

At the Muoi Tieu Chanh Restaurant on Su Van Hanh Street in District 10, about 10 automobiles and over 200 motorbikes owned by diners fell victim to the flooding.

According to Nguyen Ngoc Hai, the branch director, estimations of the damage have been submitted to the management board to request compensation for the affected customers.

To cope with future flooding, the company plans to install pumps inside the parking lot and keep sandbags at the ready to help prevent water from pouring into the venue, Anh elaborated.

Insurance is also a necessary solution, the branch director added.

Nguyen Kieu Hung, member of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, said parking lot operators are responsible for preserving their clients’ property and must recompense for damage.

Flooding at building basements cannot be considered a force majeure as it can easily be predicted, Hung said.

Owners of the damaged vehicles could potentially file complaints to the court if they do not receive the appropriate compensation, the lawyer added.

According to an insurance agent, there are insurance packages available to cover parking lot managers and vehicle owners in the event of flood damage.

“However, assurance for parking spaces is typically expensive, resulting in many businesses shying away from the service,” he explained.

According to an official from the Steering Center of the Urban Flood Control Program, owners of parking basements are required to prepare for measures to alleviate flooding in their properties.

According to Nguyen Van Hiep, former deputy director of the municipal Department of Construction, inundation can stem from floodwaters pouring into basements from the streets as well as from underground conduits.

Flooding can also result from poor building design or the lack of a proper drainage system, Hiep said, adding that the developers are responsible for their property’s shortcomings.

Inspection has been ordered to be conducted at inundated parking lots, Tran Trong Tuan, director of the construction department, said.

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