Flooding hotpots galore, Hanoi warned

VietNamNet Bridge – The capital city’s overloaded drainage system will struggle to cope with the rainy season this year, putting as many as 18 locations at risk of flooding, officials warn.


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Ly Thuong Kiet Street in central Ha Noi was flooded during the rainy season last year. —  Photo: VNS


Ha Noi’s urbanisation process is happening so fast that the drainage infrastructure is unable to keep pace, said Vo Tien Hung, director of the Ha Noi Sewerage and Drainage Limited Company.

“It (the drainage system) works when there is 500mm of rainfall or less per two hours.

“But during extreme weather, rainfall can reach over 100mm in 40 minutes, overwhelming the system.”

Some 13-15 storms and tropical depressions are expected to occur during the season, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting. Their patterns can prove difficult to predict, since this is the third consecutive year that the El Nino phenomenon is occurring in Viet Nam, the centre said.

Eleven of the eighteen locations highly likely to suffer flooding during prolonged downpours are located in the To Lich River Basin, it said.

These it include the Phan Boi Chau – Ly Thuong Kiet intersection, the Duong Thanh – Bat Dan – Nha Hoa – Cao Ba Quat intersection, as well as the streets of Doi Can, Thuy Khue, Minh Khai, Nguyen Chinh, Thanh Dam, Truong Chinh, Nguyen Khuyen, and the stretch of Giai Phong Street in front of the bus terminal.

Three other locations are in the Long Bien basin of the Red River, including the Ngoc Lam Ward and the Hoang Nhu Tiep and Co Linh streets.

The four remaining locations are in the basin on the right banks of the Nhụê River, including the Hoa Bang and Pham Van Dong streets in Cau Giay District; and in the Ha Dong basin of the Red River, including the Quang Trung – Phan Dinh Giot intersection and the area in front of the Yen Nghia Bus Station.

The locations in Ha Dong District will be especially hard to manage due to the lack of information on the district’s drainage system, said Le Vu Quang Xuong, vice director of the company.

“The previous management unit of the system, the Ha Dong Urban Environment Joint Stock Company, did not hand over the technical documents,” he explained. “Now we have to start over.”

Weak infrastructure

Inspections carried out by the city last year show that some of its irrigation constructions were built some 60-70 years ago with outdated technologies and equipment.

The Nhue River system from Ring Road 4 to Lien Mac Ward in Bac Tu Liem District has not been dredged for a long time, and will be unable to drain water for inner-city areas and the districts of Hoai Duc and Dan Phuong, said Chu Phu My, deputy director of the city’s Department of Agricultural and Rural Development.

A majority of the 95 detention basins in the city have earth dams that have eroded and downgraded over time, and their water retention capacity is very weak, he said at a recent meeting with city leaders on natural disaster prevention and mitigation activities for this year.

Nguyen Van Suu, Vice Chairman of the Ha Noi People’s Committee, said the city needs to prepare financial and human resources to respond to natural disasters in a timely manner.

Localities should inspect and review all dykes and locations that are prone to landslides and floods and report to the city before April 30, he said.

Remote sensing operations should be carried out and rescue teams should be on constant alert, he added.

Hidden dangers

Uncovered – or temporarily covered – manholes on the streets of Ha Noi are dangerous ‘traps’ for citizens during the rainy season, the Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper reported. 

In 2009, Tran Thi Men in Tay Ho District fell off her motorbike after running over an uncovered manhold on Lac Long Quan Street. She died as a car ran over her.  

Some 200 uncovered manholes were counted recently within the Hoa Binh residential area in Ha Dong District, threatening the lives of its residents, said the People’s Committee of Yen Nghia Ward. Most of manhole covers have been stolen and sold for money, it said.

A third grader recently fell into a manhole while learning how to ride a bicycle and lost two of his teeth, said Long, a district resident. “Some cars have got stuck in the holes, and drivers had to ask residents to help pull them out,” he told the newspaper.

Most of the manhole covers were made a long time ago and were not of uniform size of shape, said Bui Thi Ngoc Lan, general manager of the Thien Phat Import Export Limited Company.  

“It is frustrating to see square covers being used for round holes,” she said. “It leaves the corners of the holes uncovered and makes it easy for the covers to be stolen.”

The causes of theft – as well as responsibility of local authorities in guarding and protecting their assets – should be investigated every time a cover is stolen, said Dr Nguyen Van Hung, principal of the Thanh Dong University.

“It’s a loophole in our country’s regulations when there are no measures to be taken and no one has to take responsibility in such situation,” he said. 

VNS

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