HCM CITY — The banks of the Cho Gao Canal, the waterway linking the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta with HCM City, are facing severe erosion which is affecting the lives of people living along them.
The canal is 80 metres wide and 28.5km long.
Vo Thi Thu Huong of Tien Giang Province said erosion along the canal's banks has encroached 1-3 metres into the road near her house in Tan Thuan Binh Commune, Cho Gao District.
All local residents are worried about possible erosions at night that could drag their houses into the water, she said.
"I am planning to move out but I do not have money."
In the district's Binh Phan and Quon Long communes, in just a 10km section of the canal there are more than 30 spots, with some places eroded by as much as three metres.
Many families have moved to safer places.
The erosions have also caused many road accidents, especially at night.
There are nearly 200 eroded sites along the canal, according to the Cho Gao Canal Inland Waterway Management Station, some extending up to 20 metres inland.
The northern bank in Quon Long Commune is the most severely eroded.
On the southern side, the erosion is especially severe in Binh Phuc Nhat, Quon Long, and Binh Phan communes.
The 4,000 families living along the canal have been badly affected.
Widening project delayed
The Ministry of Transport approved a project to deepen and widen the canal to facilitate transport nearly three years ago, but work has yet to begin.
After the project was approved, many families who are to be relocated stopped building embankments along the canal, worsening the erosion.
The large number of vessels passing through the canal every day is also a major cause of erosion, according to the station.
They create waves that hit the banks, causing the erosion, especially during high tides.
More than 1,800 vessels weighing 200-1,000 tonnes use the canal every day, according to the Tien Giang Province Waterway Police and the River Management Station No11.
The latter manages inland waterways in Tien Giang as well as Vinh Long, Ben Tre, and Tra Vinh provinces.
When the banks erode and fall into the water, they also cause a silt build-up in the canal, hindering large vessels and causing traffic congestion. — VNS