|Terraced fields are covered by red mud spilled from a reservoir of the Material and Complete Equipment Export-Import Corporation in the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan's Ngoc Phai Commune. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Trinh
BAC KAN (VNS) — Around 11,000 cubic metres of red mud spilled from a reservoir belonging to the Material and Complete Equipment Export-Import Corporation last Saturday, clogging up a nearby stream and terraced fields in Ngoc Phai Commune in the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan for a week.
Findings from the communal People's Committee showed that the red mud overflowed and inundated 62,300 square metres of terraced fields, houses and fishponds belonging to 86 Dao ethnic group households in Ban Cuon I Village.
Terraced fields belonging to 15 households were blanketed in 50-60cm of thick red mud, the committee said.
Trieu Tien Phu, a local farmer, said: "Red mud overflowed into my field and our family will have no rice to eat in the coming months because we have nowhere to plant our crops now."
The reservoir ruptured last Saturday when torrential rains, triggered by Typhoon Rammasun, hit the province. The company mended the fault a day later.
However, work to overcome the aftermath of the typhoon was only just starting, according to a report by a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in the province.
Deputy director of the provincial Natural Resources and Environment Department, Tran Nguyen, said that poor design and construction of the reservoir were to blame.
"The reservoir was built on soft ground, which was another reason for the incident," he said.
Deputy director of the company's provincial branch, Le Duy Hanh, said they were calculating the damage caused and would compensate local farmers as soon as possible.
Long Thi Hai from the district's Natural Resources and Environment Office said the company would have to clean up the stream water.
"The stream water runs into Ba Be Lake. If the company does not clean up the contaminated water, the lake's ecosystem will be affected," she said.
Chairman of the district's People's Committee, Hoang Van Mao, said the incident would have a negative impact on local people's lives.
Mao said it would take a long time to clean up the contaminated water before local people could resume their daily lives. — VNS