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Migrants need better policy support

Update: August, 15/2014 - 08:28
The Chau Quan Village in a resettlement quarter in Phieng Lanh Town, in the northern mountainous province of Son La. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked localities in the Central Highlands and Northwest regions to deal with migration-related problems such as poverty and lack of access to basic services. — VNA/VNS Photo Dieu Chinh Toi

HA NOI (VNS) — In 2005, Hang A De and his H'mong family lost all of their farmland after a storm caused a major landslide in Muong Thai Commune. Like other families in their commune, situated in Son La Province's Phu Yen District, they decided to migrate to the Central Highlands region.

"It was fortunate that we had relatives who came to the Central Highlands area in 1996. We decided to settle down in Dak Ha Commune, Dak G'Long District of Dak Nong," he said.

Since the family did not have any farmland there, they survived by reclaiming land in the forest and growing coffee plants. Three years later, his family was given residency status by local officials, but he still does not have any paperwork to prove his ownership of the reclaimed land.

"We don't have trouble integrating with the locals because there are many H'mong residents in the area," De said. "However, we live about 15km from the communal healthcare centre and 15km from the downtown area of the commune, so accessing basic services like school and healthcare is very difficult."

An increasing number of families are migrating to the Central Highlands to escape harsh living conditions and natural disasters. The Central Highlands' population was only about 1 million in 1976 but is currently around 5 million, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Most of them are "spontaneous migrants," meaning they migrate freely rather than following a Government programme.

At a conference on Wednesday organised by MARD, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked localities in the Central Highlands and Northwest region to create policies to deal with migration-related problems, such as poverty, lack of access to basic services and overloaded infrastructure.

During the 2005-14 period, nearly 1,000 households migrated out of Ha Giang Province, Nguyen Minh Tien, deputy chairman of the provincial People's Committee, said at the conference. He suggested that the Government implement policies to resettle them.

Uncontrolled spontaneous migration has altered localities' socio-economic development plans, affecting their efforts to reduce poverty and reform rural development, according to representatives at the conference. In Gia Lai Province, authorities said spontaneous migration led to deforestation, land disputes and community health problems.

Nguyen Duc Luyen, deputy chairman of Dak Nong Province People's Committee, said most of the migrants lacked skills, which made it difficult for the province to meet targets in poverty reduction and rural area reform.

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat said that although 87 per cent of migrant households to the Central Highlands had been relocated and their lives were somewhat stable, nearly 1,000 households still lacked production land.

He advised limiting deforestation, including migrants in economic support programmes for locals and increasing local officials' awareness of the situation.

Deputy PM Phuc also asked MARD to collect suggestions from localities and ordered the Finance Ministry to provide enough funding for urgent community infrastructure programmes. — VNS

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