Local people struggle to travel on the muddy and bumpy road - the only road to the centre of Hra Commune in the central province of Gia Lai. VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Điệp
GIA LAI — More than 50 Bahnar ethnic minority households in a mountainous village of the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai are in need of new roads as the unpaved road stops them from travelling after rain.
The 7km road, which stretches down from the mountain to connect Đê Kôn Village with the centre of Hra Commune, becomes muddy and slippery when it rains, making it almost impossible to drive on.
Trade and production activities have been forced to halt as people can not go up or down to the mountain. Worse, people in the village face the risk of not receiving timely medical treatment in emergencies.
Klưn, head of Đê Kôn Village, said that the road was soft and slippery whenever it rained.
In days with prolonged rainfall, motorbikes – the only vehicles in the village – couldn’t pass the road. Walking was the only option.
Đê Kôn Village has a total farm area of about 142 hectares. Of that, about half is cultivated by people from Kdung Village in the lowland. During rainy seasons, the farming area is abandoned because people cannot travel up the mountain.
As for the households in Đê Kôn Village, they have to reduce the prices of cassava, rice, and agricultural products by half as the challenging road down to the mountain greatly increases transport costs.
As a result, up to 20 out of 53 households in Đê Kôn Village live in poverty or near the poverty line.
Klư said the road also puts students in danger on the way to school. There are only kindergarten and primary classes in the village, so about 20 students in the sixth and seventh grades have to travel down the mountain to the secondary school in Hra Commune.
Parents have to take these students to the school every day but when it rains, they are forced to miss school.
The dangers to children were tragically illustrated in June, when two children were left in critical condition after being stung by wild bees.
Due to the muddy road caused by prolonged rainfall, the parents had to carry their children down the mountain to the hospital.
Unfortunately, only one child was able to make a recovery.
Phạm Văn Thanh, chairman of the People's Committee of Hra Commune, said Đê Kôn Village received support from many projects and poverty reduction programmes of the State.
However, the lives of the majority of local people remained very difficult. "The biggest obstacle is the unpaved road connecting the village with the commune centre," he said.
He expressed his hope that departments and branches at all levels could arrange capital to invest in a new road in the village.
A representative of the provincial Department of Transport said the department would send a team to work with the Mang Yang District’s People’s Committee and Hra Commune People’s Committee on September 15 to have a temporary solution for the problem.
The Department of Planning and Investment said a project to build a 6.6km long road connecting the village to the commune centre was on the list of the construction projects for 2021-25.
Last year, a team of the department surveyed the road. Construction of the new road is expected to be implemented in 2022. — VNS