|Many households in Nghệ An Province had to live in make-shift houses for three years. — VNA/VNS Photo Tá Chuyên
NGHỆ AN — Tết (Lunar New Year) is approaching and more than 60 households in Lượng Minh Commune of the central province of Nghệ An will be forced to spend the holiday in makeshift huts because two projects to resettle the people in proper houses lack capital.
Along road 543B passing Lương Minh Commune of Tương Dương District, dozens of makeshift tents made of bamboo are home to the local people of ethnic minority hamlets Minh Phương, Lả and Xốp Mạt.
This is the third year hundreds of people will spend Tết in the temporary houses, still awaiting resettlement.
Lô Văn Thành, a resident of Minh Phương Hamlet, said: “In August 2018, the Bản Vẽ Hydro-Power Plant discharged water with a record flow which washed away dozens of houses along the Nậm Nơn River in Lương Minh Commune.”
“Fortunately, 34 households in the villages were promptly evacuated,” he said.
However, since then Thành’s family and other households have lived in makeshift tents waiting to move into resettlement areas in Lả Hamlet.
“My whole family of 10 people has lived in a temporary house about 30sq.m wide, built from wooden panels, roofed with leaves for the past three years,” Thành said.
“When the rain was heavy, the whole family could not sleep because of the water leaking and strong wind,” he said.
“The hard work of adults was clear, but the poor children. This is the third Tết we don't have a real home to celebrate like other people,” he said.
Not far away from Thành’s family, the situation of Lô Thị Lan's family in Minh Phương Hamlet is not much better.
During the floods in August 2018, the homes of Lan's family and 30 other households in the hamlet were swept away.
Many families had to build shelters on the mountainside or road 543B.
Some other families still have to live in their relatives' homes to wait for moving to the resettlement area.
Lan said: “When setting up temporary camps on the side of the road, the local government said it would take about six months to move to the resettlement area.”
“But we have lived here for three years. My family had to fix the 'house' three times because whenever it was raining, water flowed into the tent, causing furniture in the house to be damaged,” Lan said.
“The biggest desire of the people is that the authorities soon complete the resettlement sites for people to move to new places,” she said.
According to Vi Văn Phúc, chairman of Lượng Minh Commune, there were 63 households of the commune in Lả and Xốp Mai hamlets who were supposed to move to the two resettlement areas.
But the two resettlement projects had been paused for years because of a lack of capital, Phúc said.
The families were living in bad conditions without electricity and clean water, he said.
Meanwhile, Nguyễn Trung Sơn, vice director of the project management board of Tương Dương District, said in 2018, the People's Committee of Nghệ An Province issued a decision to set up an investment project to construct a resettlement area in Lả Hamlet to evacuate 34 households out of landslide-prone areas.
In August 2020, 12 households who were severely affected by the flood in 2018 were added to the list of the project’s beneficiaries, bringing the total number of households to be resettled to 46, Sơn said.
The project was estimated to cost VNĐ14.8 billion (US$641,000).
After two years of implementation, the project had completed ground clearance with total capital disbursement of VNĐ7.4 billion (US$320,500) from the province.
Currently, the remaining capital for implementing other items had not been allocated for the contractor to complete the project, Sơn said.
The other project is the construction of resettlement area for 17 households in Minh Phương Hamlet and Xốp Mạt Hamlet which regularly flood.
The project planned to be invested with VNĐ7.3 billion (US$320,000) but so far only a third of the total capital from the Tương Dương District fund has been allocated.
To implement this project, the contractor had to spend its money to carry out 90 per cent of the project volume.
However, when the project was about to be completed, natural disasters caused damage to the construction so work was to paused to fix the problem.
There were many difficulties in the process of implementing these two projects and they had their design adjusted twice because the number of reallocated households increased, said Sơn.
In addition, the appraisal process for the adjustment took a long time which led to the construction delay, he said.
In October last year, many communes of the district were seriously affected by three big storms and heavy rains.
At present, the two projects reportedly are short of over VNĐ12 billion (US$520,000) to finish the electric network and provide clean water and communal houses, Sơn said.
The construction of two resettlement projects in Lương Minh Commune was extremely urgent, so all concerned authorities should pay attention to finding capital to complete the projects to soon stabilise the lives of the 63 families, Sơn said. — VNS