Landslides cause worry in Mekong Delta

Landslides are continually threatening the Mekong Delta provinces every rainy season, causing worry as well as severe damage to thousands of households living in the region.

A severe landslide reduced the 11m wide Highway 91 to only 1m in An Giang Province last year. (Photo:SGGP)

Households in this region are living in constant fear of losing their homes. Landslides have sliced away many a home overnight into the river during each rainy season.

Living in fear

Many landslides have occurred in Can Tho City where people live not just in fear of losing their property but also of losing their lives.

According to the Southern Irrigation Science Institute, there are 26 areas most susceptible to landslides in Can Tho City. The trouble spots along Can Tho River ly from Cai Rang Bridge and Ninh Kieu District to Phong Dien town in Phong Dien District and Tan Loc Island and along Tra Noc River.

Recently, many landslides occurred in Can Tho City, which left four dead. These incidents occurred in Tra Nieng Bridge area, Phong Dien District and at Long Hoa in Binh Thuy District.

Presently, many households worry that anytime a landslide can occur in their village in My Phuoc in Phong Dien District.

Le Thi Be, a resident of Phong Dien District, said she always lives in fear ever since her neighbour’s house fell into the river at the beginning of May.

She said her family has been living near Can Tho River for 20 years and she does not know where to move now.

Nguyen Thi Cung, a resident living under My Khanh Bridge, said she and her two children did not dare to stay at home when it rained for fear of landslides.

She said that the My Khanh Commune authorities had issued notices to residents living along the river to move to other places. However, most of the households living along the embankment of the river or its vicinity are very poor and do not have another place to live.

On May 25, an ice-making unit in Binh Khanh Ward in Long Xuyen City of An Giang Province fell into the Hau River. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

According to the latest survey by the Department of Environment, there are 13 areas at risk from landslides, along the Tien River in An Giang Province. Landslides often occur at Vinh Hoa and Tan An communes, Tan Chau District, Kien An, Tan My and Long Dien A commune in Cho Moi District.

The survey also showed that there are 25 landslide-prone spots along Hau River in An Giang Province. Dong Thap Province has 99 landslide-prone spots on a 172-kilometre stretch. Hau Giang Province has 15 danger zones with many communes being highly vulnerable.

Urgent measures required

Landslides along rivers in the Mekong Delta region have recently increased while local authorities struggle to find measures to prevent damage to houses along the embankments.

The Department of Environment in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said that the reason for landslides was due to erratic water flow and weak land foundation. Uncontrolled sand mining had changed the course of the river water causing the rivers to flow into banks resulting in landslides.

Dong Thap and An Giang Provinces are building housing in safe areas to relocate people from risky zones, while Can Tho plans to build 24 embankments by 2030.

Hau Giang authorities are evacuating 100 households living in danger zones at Nga Bay commune and along Cai Con River in Chau Thanh District.

Le Van Hau, deputy Chairman of the People’s Committee of Can Tho, said that the city is building houses in safe areas to relocate 180 households from risky zones.

He also said that a project to prevent landslides is underway. The project aims to build embankments along 25 landslide-prone areas with a fund of VND2, 200 billion.

By C. Phong, B. Dai – Translated by T.Huong

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