Landslides threaten lives of Chợ Gạo Canal residents

TIỀN GIANG — Hundreds of families living along Chợ Gạo Canal in Mekong province of Tiền Giang fear a landslide might destroy their homes any moment.

Chợ Gạo Canal is an important waterway for transporting goods through ships from HCM City to the Mekong Delta and vice versa. In the 2013-14 period, the Ministry of Transport implemented the first phase of a project to dredge and upgrade the canal.

However, the second phase which was approved to be carried out in the 2016-2017 period in the build, operate and transfer (BOT) format was suspended, as it could be transferred to other form of investment.

Costing VNĐ1.3 trillion (US$57.7 million), the project is aimed at upgrading a 28.6-km section of the canal.

The slow implementation of the project’s second phase has affected the lives of families living along the canal. The entire road system was completely eroded, affecting the business of the local people.

The areas most susceptible to erosion are concentrated in Bình Phục Nhứt, Bình Phan and Xuân Đông communes.

Several sections of dykes along the 10-km canal were eroded.

The local people said the cause of the severe landslide was the large number of boats passing Chợ Gạo every day, while the embankment kept degrading and was not repaired on time.

Trần Thị Thanh Hiền, a resident in Bình Phục Nhứt Commune, said the residents lived in anxiety because the main road was damaged by the landslide.

Hiền, whose house was at least a dozen metres away from the canal long ago, now lives in fear of being swept away by the water, as erosion has brought the house perilously close to the edge of the canal.

To control the landslide, residents were using simple tools such as timber, sand bags and steel wires, but a few days later, the road suffered more damage through another landslide.

These households cannot be shifted because they are waiting for support from the Government to carry out the second phase of the project.

Lê Văn Mỹ, chairman of People’s Committee of Chợ Gạo District, said more than 600 households had been affected by the poor implementation of the second phase of the project.

The local authorities have asked the Transport Ministry to conduct the second phase quickly to help households lead a better life.

The upgrade project will ease the traffic along the canal, preventing ships from getting stuck in landslides and shallow water.

Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/society/425736/landslides-threaten-lives-of-cho-gao-canal-residents.html#riIETeeFkP5MoF0m.99

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