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Sewers and open manholes pose threat to road user safety

Update: October, 27/2016 - 03:00
People use a bag of sand to warn about an uncovered hole in which cable lines are buried on Trương Định – Võ Văn Tần intersection in HCM City’s District 3. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI —Uncovered manholes are the latest threat to pedestrians in Việt Nam, with the hazard claiming at least two deaths in southern Bình Dương Province and HCM City in the last ten days.

Eight-year-old Hoàng Xuân Hiếu, from Bình Dương province’s Dĩ An Town was swept into a manhole on Street No 4 on October 16, following prolonged heavy rainfall that flooded the province’s streets, according to witnesses.

His body was discovered two days later, 3km from where he went missing.

Last Friday, a man died after falling down a manhole while rushing towards a bus on Kinh Dương Vương Street, HCM City’ Bình Tân District.

The manhole he fell into was open as the cover had been removed for a road reconstruction project run by the municipal Steering Center of the Urban Flood Control Program, contracted to construction firm VIC.

However, these were not the first lives uncovered manholes have claimed in Việt Nam. In September, 2014, two boys died from falling down manholes in southern Bình Dương. Early this month, a woman in Thủ Dầu Một City was fortunate to be saved after being swept away down a sewer.

The Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper reported that streets in HCM City are unpaved, with manhole covers removed for construction projects with no fences or warning signs.

On a street near the Thanh Đa apartment building in Bình Thạnh District, for example, there is an unfenced manhole 30cm above the road surface. Whenever the street is flooded during heavy rains, locals put tree branches around the hole to warn pedestrians.

There are five uncovered and unfenced manholes on Lê Văn Việt Street in District 9. The holes, measuring two metres deep, are on the pavement and pedestrians can easily fall into them.

Similar situations exist on Tạ Quang Bửu and An Dương Vương Streets in District 8.

Former deputy director of HCM City’s Construction Department Nguyễn Văn Hiệp said those in charge of managing and maintaining roads must take responsibility for the manhole accidents.

The accidents reflect their irresponsibility and disobedience to laws, he said.

Lawyer Thái Văn Chung from the HCM City Bar Association said that all projects, including incomplete projects or completed projects yet to be transferred to Government bodies, are the responsibility of investors if problems occur.

Investors must regularly supervise work to ensure that builders strictly follow work schemes and regulations, Chung said. — VNS

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