In recent years, both sides of the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City have perennially faced landslides while efforts to curb this devastation have been either too slow or else negligible.
|Riverside landslides become worse in Thanh Da Peninsula in Binh Thanh District of HCMC (Photo: SGGP)|
About 13,000m of the Saigon riverbank has been prone to perpetual landslides as in Binh My, Trung An, Hoa Phu and An Phu Communes in Cu Chi District. Local residents from Binh My Commune said that tens of meters of the dyke have dropped into the river due to high tides.
The right embankment of Saigon River in Hiep Binh Phuoc Ward in Thu Duc District, which has been built with mud and soil, is highly vulnerable during high tide and heavy rain.
Some visible cracks have occurred along the left embankment of the river in Binh Quoi Wharf of Binh Thanh District and Linh Dong Ward of Thu Duc District. This section has been fortified with only soil and mangrove stakes.
Operation of large vessels and passenger boats creates strong waves that hit riverbanks, and hundreds of nearby houses and yellow apricot gardens are located much lower than the river level.
Landslides are also prevalent along Giong Ong To Bridge in An Phu and Binh Trung Tay Wards in District 2, with several houses now in danger of collapse.
According to local people, barges have regularly come to illegally dredge sand and worsen landslides in these areas.
An Phu Ward has provided local residents with financial assistance to fortify the embankment to protect their properties. However, landslides have continued to broaden inland and threaten to sweep their houses.
Several high-rise buildings are located only 15-20m from the river edge in Nguyen Van Huong Street in Thao Dien Ward of District 2. Several houses are also positioned close to the river edge and protected with a very fragile embankment built by local dwellers.
According to the Department of Transport, HCMC now has 62 landslide prone areas with 29 highly vulnerable spots in Nha Be, Binh Thanh, Binh Chanh and Thu Duc Districts.
The Department of Transport and district authorities have invested in 38 projects to fortify the river banks and the City is still seeking investors for 24 others.
However, some of the already started projects have been carried out too slowly due to site clearance, which has put on hold five out of six projects started by the Department of Transport.
Four other works are also falling in the same condition in Nha Be District. The delay of the project to cope with riverbank erosion near Long Kieng Bridge has resulted in doubling costs.
Another reason for the delay of anti-landslide projects is slow disbursement. At present, the relevant organs have disbursed only 30 percent of the ammount of VND148.7 billion (US$7 million) approved for the purpose this year, which is 3.5 fold higher than last year.