A 500-year flood cycle scheme to protect downtown Hà Nội is part of a detailed flood prevention master plan that municipal agencies are working on.– Photo anninhthudo.vn
HÀ NỘI – A 500-year flood cycle scheme to protect downtown Hà Nội is part of a detailed flood prevention master plan that municipal agencies are working on.
The master plan is being prepared in line with the Prime Minister’s Decision No.257/QĐ-TTg which approves anti-flood and dyke planning for the Red and Thái Bình river systems.
The Hà Nội Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Việt Nam Institute of Water Resources have been tasked with drafting the master plan, which is estimated to cost VNĐ56.9 trillion (US$2.5 billion).
An estimated 1900 households have to be relocated from flood storage areas, which will cover 4,568ha on the Red River banks.
Caught in a bind
Over 6.7km of the Red River dyke runs through the capital city’s Thanh Trì District. Three communes in the district, Yên Mỹ, Duyên Hà and Vạn Phúc, covering 1,258ha and comprising 6100 households, are squarely located in the river’s flood storage area.
This has meant that several buildings in the communes, both Government offices and residences, cannot be built anew despite their dilapidated condition. Only repairs and maintenance work can be carried out on these buildings, said Đặng Đức Quỳnh, Vice Chairman of Thanh Trì District People’s Committee.
Similarly, in Hoàn Kiếm District’s Phúc Tân and Chương Dương ward, 45,000 people live in the Red River flood drainage zone. However, due to their location outside the dykes, the granting of construction permits requires compliance with special regulations, especially those that deal with construction in the Red River flood drainage corridor.
Many houses in this area are so badly damaged that they have to be rebuilt urgently, but owners are only allowed to carry out repairs. The legal complexities in obtaining building permits and requirements for rebuilding have made the lives of residents very difficult and are a headache for local authorities.
However, according to the deputy director of the city’s agriculture department, Trần Thanh Nhã, slow implementation of the plan could see the population in flood drainage areas increase rapidly.
In the last eight years, it estimates that the population in the flood drainage areas has increased by about 30,000 people, creating many difficulties in relocating people to safe areas.
The situation is worsened by residents discharging waste directly into river and increasing encroachment of the flood plains, especially in Tây Hồ and Hoàn Kiếm districts.
Deputy Director of the city’s Planning and Architecture Department, Bùi Xuân Tùng, also said that the delay in formulating and implementing the master plan on flood prevention will prevent city authorities from implementing urban development projects in riverside areas.
A current concern involves the proportion of flood plains on which infrastructure is allowed to be built. Decision No257 regulates the percentage at 5 to 15 per cent. Many urban experts have advised that the percentage be increased to allow maximum use of riverside resources.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoàng Văn Thắng said the ministry would review the plan in the spirit of creating favourable conditions for city authorities to manage and optimal use the floodplains.
Meanwhile, he urged city authorities to curb population growth in the floodplains and provide information on dyke protection to people living along the river.
The deputy minister also suggested that city authorities find ways to raise capital for flood prevention work in order to implement the master plan effectively.
Nhã of the municipal agriculture department said drafters of the plan will consider and incorporate suggestions from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development before submitting it to the city People’s Council for approval in November.
If approved, the department and the Water Resources Institute will start implementing the plan immediately, he added. -- VNS