Viet Nam News
HẢI PHÒNG – Since 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Ngô Minh Tuệ of Hải Phòng City Police has assisted the families of 22 fishermen in moving from small boats—vulnerable to overturning amid waves caused by cargo ships—to homes in a new village in Máy Chai Commune.
The Cấm River is the main estuary in the city, located in Ngô Quyền District. Here, hundreds of vessels operate day and night. People from other regions of the country gather here in tiny boats, fishing for living. But these maritime homes are not safe: the constant cargo ship traffic creates unpredictable waves that can flip boats with little warning.
Back in 2006, Ngô Minh Tuệ came up with the idea of establishing a village for fishermen so that they could move into more secure homes. At first, they weren’t interested. Worried about being under the control of local authorities, none of them wanted to move to the riverside. The lack of electricity and clean water also made them reluctant.
To alleviate their concerns, Tuệ developed a detailed resettlement plan over the past five years. He attracted the support of Máy Chai Commune’s residents and won approval from local authorities. He also asked his colleagues, governmental agencies and other organisations to donate food and rice. Additionally, Tuệ helped them build houses and roads connecting the newly formed village to surrounding areas.
However, as the fishermen’s families were persuaded of the benefits of moving, there were more challenges to come.
To create educational opportunities for their children, he has helped them obtain school subsidies, changing people’s attitudes towards education. At present, all of the fishermen’s children go to school.
Now that they have moved from boats to more stable accommodations, people are rebuilding their lives. Some even gave up on the fishing profession, pursuing other careers for more sustainable income.
“My children and I have never dreamed of such a stable life,” said Trần Thị Nghiêm, 74, a resident of Máy Chai Commune.
Nghiêm had spent most of her life in tiny boats with five to six other people. Tuệ’s assistance allowed them to escape poverty and hunger.
“Thanks to Tuệ and other policemen, our fishermen are now having better livelihoods. We are grateful to have him,” she added.
Speaking to the Quân đội Nhân dân (People’s Army) Newspaper, Nguyễn Thị Với, head of Máy Chai Commune’s Residency Area no.1, said she was grateful for the initiative of Tuệ and his colleagues.
“Their efforts have transformed the area. With Tuệ as the pioneer, policemen and local authorities have provided support for fishermen to stabilize their lives,” she said.
Challenges to head
Although the village has been established, must overcome further challenges.
“Only four households have obtained temporary residence registrations. The others, due to their lack of identification documents, have been not eligible for it,” he said.
Procuring daily essentials for the village is another concern.
“There is still no grid electricity so they must buy it from local enterprises. Environmental sanitation is not guaranteed. Those issues require local authorities’ cooperation to handle since we cannot do it alone,” added Tuệ.
Responding to Tuệ, Phạm Thị Thu Hà, deputy head of Máy Chai Commune People’s Committee, said that they took his concerns seriously.
“Improving people’s livelihoods and living conditions are also our priorities. We are finding solutions to gradually address those existing problems for people to enjoy a better life,” she said. – VNS