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MARD allocates funds to shore up crumbling dykes

Update: May, 23/2013 - 09:43

HA NOI (VNS)— The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a plan to reinforce the inter-provincial dyke system at a cost of VND420 billion (US$20 million) to prepare for floods.

Tran Thi Lan Phuong, an expert at the ministry's Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control, said the dykes include the Duong River dyke running through Ha Noi, Hai Phong City and Bac Ninh Province in the north, and the Lam River Dike connecting central Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces.

A total of VND300 billion ($14.2 million) has also been allocated, to repair damaged sewers and dykes hit by landslides to prevent erosion, said Phuong.

However, the funds meet only 50 per cent of the demand. The ministry has proposed that the Government add another VND120 billion ($5.7 million) to the programme.

The committee claims to be also coping with many violations that can greatly weaken the structure of the dykes.

More than 560 violations have been reported so far this year. They included discharging waste on dyke, planting trees on top of the embankment, driving overloaded lorries along dyke roads and storing building materials on them.

Typically, 16 people built illegal apartments in dyke protected corridors in Ung Hoa, Phuc Tho and Phu Xuyen districts.

In Ha Noi alone, a total of 44 cases were detected last month, an increase by 27 compared with March, according to the Ha Noi Department of Dyke Management and Flood Prevention.

Northern Bac Giang province also detected 85 cases.

Deputy director of the Directorate of Water Resources Nguyen Xuan Dieu said that upgrading and managing the dyke system in some northern provinces was not safe as it did not follow guidelines.

Specifically, some dykes in Phu Tho, Vinh Phuc, Bac Ninh and Hung Yen provinces were being widened, whereas those in Ha Noi connecting the provinces remained the same.

This meant that dykes in Ha Noi could be threatened in times of high flood, said Dieu.

"Moreover, illegal natural resources and minerals exploitation in river beds in different provinces has changed the water flow, caused landslides and decreased river drainage," he said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang suggested that regular inspections and maintenance together with drastic punishments would improve the situation.

More than 50 locations along 2,500km of dykes in northern and north-central areas face dangers in the flood season, according of the latest statistics from the Directorate of Water Resources. — VNS


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