Huge money spent on drainage system, but Hanoi still floods
VietNamNet Bridge - Hanoi’ streets were flooded on May 25 after a heavy rain, but have now come back to life. However, worries still exist. If the water drainage system does not improve, Hanoians will continue to see more floods in the future.

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Tran Ngoc Chinh, an architect, and chair of the Vietnam Urban Planning and Development, blamed the problem on unreasonable urban planning and problematic implementation.

Hanoi, in the past, had an effective water system created by a network of lakes, ponds and rivers. As the lakes, ponds and rivers have been filled up to make room for houses, the water drainage system has disappeared.

A report of the Hanoi Planning & Architecture Department showed that 70 out of 112 ponds and lakes in the inner city have been filled up in the last five years. Some lakes were depleted because of evaporation, while others have been appropriated by local people to get land for accommodation.

In fact, the municipal authorities were well aware of the danger many years ago. Therefore, it planned to build a large water drainage system with ODA (official development assistance) funded by the Japanese government. 

Hanoi’ streets were flooded on May 25 after a heavy rain, but have now come back to life. However, worries still exist. If the water drainage system does not improve, Hanoians will continue to see more floods in the future.
The project, kicked off in 2006, was initially expected to get completed in 2010. However, the deadline was extended to 2011 and then to 2015. However, to date, the project still has not been completed.

Five years ago, when approving the overall development of Hanoi, the then Prime Minister pointed out that multi-storey houses must not be built in the inner districts of the city. However, the city’s authorities have recently released a document allowing to build multi-storey buildings in inner city.

Citing these problems, Chinh came to a conclusion that Hanoi needs a completely new urban development planning, not a patchy one with some adjustments from the old planning. 

Tran Huy Anh, an architect from the Vietnam Architects’ Association, in an interview to Tin Tuc newspaper, also commented that if Hanoi does not draw up a new water drainage overall plan, a plan ‘smart’ enough to adapt to the new conditions of the rapid urbanization process and to climate change, it will still suffer from flood, no matter how much money it spends.

“These problems have existed for the last 30 years. Though city authorities have been making every effort to deal with the problems, no solution has brought the desired effects,” he commented.

“Hanoi realized the danger in 2008. But nothing has improved over the last eight years,” he said.


CV

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