The initial damage central Quảng Bình Province suffered from mass fish deaths is estimated at more than VNĐ2.7 trillion (US$120 million) as of June and could mount to some VNĐ4 trillion ($178 million) by the end of this year. — Photo vtc.vn
QUẢNG BÌNH — The initial damage central Quảng Bình Province suffered from mass fish deaths is estimated at more than VNĐ2.7 trillion (US$120 million) as of June and could mount to some VNĐ4 trillion ($178 million) by the end of this year, the provincial People’s Committee said yesterday.
The incident has seriously affected the lives and psychology of locals. Local agriculture and tourism have been significantly hurt, Nguyễn Hữu Hoài, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said.
The local seafood raising and processing industry and salt making in the province are estimated to lost VNĐ1.25 trillion ($56 million) as of June and are expected to lose VNĐ2.3 trillion ($102 million) by the end of this year.
The local tourism industry, which hosts nearly 300 facilities and welcomes over 3 million tourists every year, also faced about a VNĐ1.4 trillion ($62 million) loss. That loss is predicted to reach VNĐ1.67 trillion ($74 million) by December this year.
The provincial People’s Committee estimated the living environment of sea animals has been seriously destroyed, with seafood exploitation capacity declining 40 to 60 per cent compared to before the fish deaths.
Fishermen and locals who rely on the sea for a living or who work in the tourism industry also lost their jobs. Fishing boats still cannot fish offshore, and local hotels and restaurants fail to attract customers.
Hoài asked local sectors and authorities to assess the damage accurately, following laws and ensuring equality for residents.
The destruction assessment must not end on December 31 this year. It must extend into the coming years and for the long term, he said.
Regarding short-term solutions, the State Bank of Việt Nam branch in Quảng Bình Province and the provincial Finance Department have been assigned to provide loan assistance to individuals and units affected by the incident.
The provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment is in charge of reporting sea environment observation statistics to residents twice a week.
A local council was also set up to assess the scope of fish death damages.
Chairman Hoài said the council must conduct a thorough assessment. Local authorities will complete and report the initial assessment to the Government and central agencies on July 15.
The mass fish deaths started on April 6 in Kỳ Anh Town in Hà Tĩnh Province - where Formosa Hà Tĩnh is located - then spread to the central coastal provinces of Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế.
Rough statistics from the four provinces reported some 277 tonnes of dead fish – both washed up on the beaches and farmed from the sea.
The Vietnamese Government told media last week that the Taiwanese Hưng Nghiệp Formosa Hà Tĩnh Steel Corporation released toxic wastewater into the sea in these provinces and was responsible for the massive fish deaths in several central Vietnamese provinces in the past few months.
Leaders of Formosa Hà Tĩnh apologised to the Vietnamese Government and people. They committed to compensate $500 million to affected people, to help fishermen find new jobs, to pay for clean-up, and to restore the sea environment.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will propose a project to restore coral reefs and ecosystems and to advise local fishermen regarding future employment.
The Ministry will also suggest the rice support programme be extended to six months for both fishermen and salt workers. — VNS