HA NOI — Hundreds of people living in a residential block in Ha Noi's Tan Mai Ward are fearing for their safety as the 28-year-old building is seriously leaning and facing collapse.
|Cracks up to 5cm wide run across passages in a residential building in Ha Noi's Tan Mai Ward. — VNS Photo Thu Hien
They are being kept waiting for a final decision from the city's Construction Department and other relevant authorities who are deciding whether building A7 can be amended or if removing its 250 residents to another area will be necessary instead.
Ceilings in the five-floor building are being propped up by a steel shelf system that is totally separating from the walls. Clefts up to 5cm wide run down the staircases, walls and floors of the apartments, which slope left. Rainwater drainage pipelines are broken, leading to all fifth-floor apartments becoming inundated with water during the flood season.
Nguyen Thanh Lang, 75, who lives in a third-floor apartment yesterday said: "The framework of my doors and windows has been deformed so they are impossible to close. Some small furniture has been moving due to the tilting floor."
He said he is very worried about the safety of his family members.
"We are living in fear everyday. I don't have any deep sleep at nights because I have to wake up to check if any shaking happens in the building."
Nguyen Quang Gang, head of the local resident board said the depression of the building started taking place five years ago. When the situation worsened, residents urged the relevant agencies including Ha Noi Housing Development and Management Company - responsible for managing residential buildings in Tan Mai Commune - and the commune's People's Committee to make an inspection and work out solutions for repair.
One year later, the company made its first inspection which concluded that "the building is in a seriously dangerous situation and requires an urgent fixing plan," Gang said.
However, no urgent action has been taken since then except for the introduction of the steel shelf last year to prop up the floor and staircases, he said.
Vu Ngoc Cuong, deputy chairman of the ward's People's Committee said that all relevant documents had been sent to the Construction Department about the situation and suggested that people in the building should be removed to another place.
However, Cuong said that the department concluded that the building was not at a level dangerous enough to require the removal of occupants when they investigated two years ago.
The committee kept urging for new inspections and a reconsideration of the removal plan but accepted that the allocation of permanent accommodation for such a large number of people would take time, so the relevant agencies needed to process carefully.
Nguyen Quoc Tuan, deputy director of the department, accepted the need for a final conclusion about the situation and requested another inspection. This reportedly took place last Monday, although no official conclusion has been released.
Cuong said the committee already drafted a preparatory plan to remove people from the building to a temporary place when the storms or floods happen in the coming rainy season. — VNS