|A resettlement area for Pa Ko people in central Quang Tri Province's Dakrong District. District authorities are trying to improve infrastructure and living standards in resettlement areas. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngo Lich
QUANG TRI (VNS) — Authorities in central Quang Tri Province have got themselves into an absurd situation over the resettlement of people periodically threatened by storms and floods.
Many families in disaster-prone areas have refused to move to new resettlement areas after finding there was no land for cultivation - or even fresh water for drinking and farming.
To compound matters, other families from the same area but not classified as disaster prone, have moved into the empty homes illegally. They refuse to budge.
In Dakrong Province, two resettlement projects were built for hundreds of families from Dakrong and A Ngo communes.
Ka Lu-Chan Ro resettlement area, built at a cost of more than VND11 billion (US$523,000), has completed 30 out of a total 70 houses planned. The project included schools, power and concrete roads.
However, only 19 families decided to make the move. The rest refused to shift as there was no land to grow crops or raise animals.
Ho Ra Mi, moved to a house in Vung Kho Hamlet in Ka Lu-Chan Ro resettlement area, but said it was next to National Highway 9 and had no farm land attached.
He said he voluntarily moved as he was promised a house, 720sq.m of rice fields, one hectare of cultivation land - plus a food subsidy for the first six months.
"Now I have to use land from my parents and can only earn VND10 million ($476) for a whole year", he said.
Ho Ta Hach, another resident, said he borrowed VND20 million ($952) from a local bank to buy cows to make money, but he said he couldn't settle down in the area because no land was forthcoming.
Vice chairman of the communal People's Committee, Ho Thanh said the project originally had agricultural land to distribute, but most of it had been occupied by householders from the same commune who were not listed for relocation.
The committee held meetings with members of these households and asked them to return the land and pay compensation, but they refused.
In Pi Rao Resettlement Area in A Ngo Commune, a project to provide new living areas for 70 households was completed in 2012. It had 42.8 hectares of land for cultivation.
However, after two years, only 42 families moved in because they had no fresh water.
Vice chairman of the People's Committee Ho Van Lap said residents also had difficulties in accessing social welfare, including food subsidies and breeding plants and stock.
"A school was built in our resettlement area, but parents still had to take their children to their old schools as there were not enough students," he said.
Ho Thi Kim Cuc, vice chairwoman of the district's People's Committee blamed a lack of competent officials for the absence of cultivation land and water.
The committee asked the Home Affairs Department to appoint hamlet officials to take charge of situation, but regulations state that they cannot be appointed until there are at least 100 households to handle.
Cuc said the committee had asked the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to examine the situation and see if resettled families can be given other farm land.
She said the committee would give extensions to households who refused to move to the area. If they did not, the homes allocated to them would be given to others in need. — VNS