HCM CITY — Flood-proof residential clusters enable people in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap's flood-prone areas to live a normal life during the annual flood season, the chairman of the provincial People's Committee has said.
Le Minh Hoan said building flood-proof residential clusters in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has been a major programme.
Since it began in 2001, it has received a warm welcome from people and local authorities as it not only protects people from the ravages of floods but allows them to exploit the bounty the waters provide, he told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.
He spoke about the historic floods in 2000 that caused disease outbreaks, environmental pollution, traffic disruption, property damage, and hundreds of casualties, and compared it with last year's severe flooding.
But in 2011 people's lives were not affected like in previous years, thanks to the programme, he said.
They also planted nearly 100,000ha of rice and vegetables during last year's floods, he said.
In the programme's first phase from 2001 to 2007, 204 residential clusters for 37,000 households were built in flood-prone areas.
In the second phase, expected to be completed next year, the province is building 46 more clusters to relocate 14,000 families living in flood- and erosion-prone areas.
In 32 of them, foundations have almost been fully laid; 25 have seen power connections completed; in 16, water supply systems and roads are in place.
The province has identified 7,000 households for relocation to these clusters.
Hoan said the clusters have living conditions similar to those in urban areas.
"The programme has met the target of providing safe housing for people in flood-prone areas," he said.
Training is provided to people living there in farming and making handicrafts, and they are encouraged to do trading and offer services.
The province would increase investment to set up infrastructure, schools, clinics, markets, and entertainment services in the clusters, Hoan said.
Elsewhere in the delta
In the first phase of the programme, flood-proof clusters were also built in other places in the Mekong Delta.
A total of around 1,000 clusters to house 150,000 families on a total area of 3,000ha were built in Can Tho city and seven provinces.
Dong Thap and An Giang provinces managed to move almost all targeted households into these areas.
In the second phase, a further 178 are being built to resettle 52,000 households. — VNS