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Northern houses at risk of storm damage

Update: September, 30/2013 - 08:31

LAI CHAU (VNS)— Hundreds of houses in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau are likely to collapse at any minute due to heavy flooding, but the inhabitants cannot afford to move.

Than Uyen District has more houses in imminent danger than the neighbouring districts of Tan Uyen, Muong Te and Phong Tho, with more than 80 dwellings located in areas where there is a high risk of landslide. Most are in Muong Kim Commune's Na Pha Village.

Hoang Thi Vuong, a 27-year-old resident, said that her house was seriously damaged by heavy rain two weeks ago. The rain soaked furniture, cracked the floor and broke the roof, so the family had to move in with relatives.

However, that living situation was not satisfactory, so they asked the local authorities for help. Their plea was not accepted and they ended up risking their lives moving back to repair the house.

A few days ago, she dreamed about the house collapsing and ran outside clutching her 3-year-old daughter.

"We are living in fear because the house might fall down at any moment," Vuong said.

Two houses in the area recently collapsed, according to Na Pha Village chairman Hoang Van Chai.

"We really hope that the Government will offer vulnerable residents support to move out of dangerous areas and settle down in new places," said Ha Trong Hai, vice chairman of the district People's Committee.

The current support of VND20 million (US$962) from the State budget is not sufficient, Hai said.

In Tan Uyen, Muong Te and Phong Tho Districts, over 50 families need to be relocated. The provincial People's Committee has proposed the Prime Minister allocate VND30 billion ($1 million) to support local residents in resettlement and production.—VNS

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