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Experts urge urban management to help solve HCM City flooding

Update: October, 15/2008 - 00:00

Experts urge urban management to help solve HCM City flooding

(16-10-2008)

Experts say that serious flooding, like what took place in Nguyen Huu Canh Road, Binh Thanh District earlier this week, must be controlled. — VNA/VNS Photo Trang Duong

HCM CITY — Good management of the city’s urbanisation and economic growth is the only sustainable solution to HCM City’s flooding woes, experts have said.

The infrastructure projects currently under way could only deal with flooding after it happens rather than address the causes, they said.

A recent report by the People’s Committee admits there are still around 100 locations in the city that are flood-prone, exactly the same as in 2000, though flood-prevention measures were carried out in recent years.

The report blames illegal encroachments of rivers and canals and heavy rains for the flooding.

The experts preferred to look at the bigger picture and blame it on haphazard urbanisation and economic growth.

Encroachment along the city’s rivers and canals has limited the flow of water, causing water levels to rise higher every year.

While the sea level in neighbouring Ba Ria — Vung Tau Province has remained unchanged since 1990, the city’s rivers and canals have risen an average of 1.5 cm a year.

The experts said cementing of land surfaces and emissions from vehicles and factories were making the city’s microclimate warmer as well as bringing more rain.

Flooding situation

Ho Phi Long, deputy head of the city’s Flood and Storm Control Committee, said the flooding occurs not just in low-lying districts.

Districts situated higher, like 9, 12, Binh Tan, and Tan Phu, now have the largest number of waterlogged sites, he said.

While some old sites have been improved, new flooding sites are springing up, he said.

Despite having many canals for draining water from rains and high tides, the city’s south, including Districts 7, Nha Be and Can Gio, have also been waterlogged since 2006.

In the inner city, both the number of sites and frequency of flooding are up.

In Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe area alone, 12 spots were flooded 60 times in 2003. The figures increased to 13 and 64 times in 2006.

The city currently has in the works four large flood-prevention projects at a cost of around US$800 million using Official Development Assistance funds.

They include the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe canal drainage project and the Hang Bang irrigation canal drainage project. The projects are expected to be completed by 2010. — VNS

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