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Residents threatened by falling trees

Update: July, 12/2016 - 07:00
A tree fell on Phạm Văn Bạch Street, Tân Bình District, Hồ Chí Minh City on July 6. Trees fall during the rainy season is inevitable because many of them were infected with diseases, and their roots were not planted deep into the ground.—VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY – Residents in HCM City are worried about commuters’ safety after several trees fell on roads during recent rains.

According to HCM City Green Tree and Park Company under HCM City’s Department of Transport, nearly 70 trees have fallen in the first six months of this year, damaging over 10 vehicles and injuring eight people. The incidents have also paralysed traffic on many routes.

Rains carrying strong squalls hit the city in late June, knocking down many trees and injuring some people.

On June 26, fierce winds uprooted a tree, which fell onto a man riding a motorbike on Trường Chinh Street in Tân Phú District, causing serious injuries.

The rainy season in HCM City usually starts in May and ends in October. During this period, it rains heavily almost every afternoon, but the rainfall generally ends quickly.

Three main types of trees planted on city streets include phượng (flamboyant or royal poinciana,), xà cừ (African mahogany) and me tây (Albizia saman).

These kinds of trees have been uprooted easily during heavy rains in recent years.

Kiều Thị Hận, 50, of District 2’s Thảo Điền Ward, said many trees on Nguyễn Văn Hưởng Street had been uprooted recently. Thus, local residents were afraid that trees could fall at any time, especially during the rainy season, she said.

Hận said she was also anxious because an African mahogany tree measuring nearly 1m in diameter in front of her house was tilting, and its root damaged a portion of pavement.

“Trees fall every year on this street. Luckily enough, no casualties have been reported,” she said.

The concern is shared by other city dwellers, as well.

“Every year, when the rainy season comes, we fear our lives will be threatened by fallen trees,” said Lê Thế Công, 60, of District 3’s Ward 6.

According to Nguyễn Khắc Dũng, head of Green Tree and Park Company, the fact that trees fall during the rainy season is inevitable because many of them were infected with diseases, and their roots were not planted deep into the ground.

Extreme weather, which causes the trees to grow poorly, was the main reason, he said.

He also blamed the construction of concrete pavements, sewage systems and underground power cables, which limit photosynthesis and water absorption, decreasing plant vitality.

Improper care was another cause, Dũng said, pointing to the fact that trees only get periodic care based merely on the number of yellow leaves they have, or the manifestation of plant diseases.

To minimise the damage caused by tree collapses, he said, the company has mobilised its staff to check old trees that were at risk of falling and cut down trees that were suffering from age, disease, hollowness and tilting.

Dũng also advised residents to avoid standing under trees and travelling on roads during rainstorms, and to seek safe shelter as soon as possible. -- VNS

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