Formosa damage being assessed

Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) Doãn Mậu Diệp underlined the need to accurately investigate information related to the damage caused by Formosa’s environmental disaster in the central province of Hà Tĩnh, so as to give appropriate support for locals.

Environmental pollution caused by Formosa has affected the jobs of up to 42,520 locals in Hà Tĩnh Province alone, particularly those involved in fishing, fishery logistics and service businesses. (Photo: VNA/VNS)

In late June, Hưng Nghiệp Formosa Hà Tĩnh Steel Company acknowledged that its $10.6 billion steel plant had been responsible for massive fish deaths, pledging to pay $500 million in damages.

During a working session with representatives from the provincial People’s Committee and relevant departments yesterday, Diệp stressed that the investigation and collection of information should avoid omission or duplication, he added.

Participants discussed support measures for locals who have been affected by the recent environmental incident, while putting forth ways to exactly define the damage and support level necessary for locals, towards ensuring social security in the locality.

According to reports of the provincial Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the incident has affected the jobs of up to 42,520 locals in Nghi Xuân, Nghi Lộc, Thạch Hà, Cẩm Xuyên and Kỳ Anh districts, and Kỳ Anh Town, who specialised in fishing, fishery logistics and services business, salt production, aquaculture, and restaurant and hotel trading.

It has also impacted the livelihoods, income and living conditions of over 30,000 local households.

The local authorities have taken many measures to recover production and stabilise living conditions, including providing 3.7 tonnes of food to people in areas directly affected by environmental pollution.

The local chapters of the provincial Calamities Relief Fund and the Vietnam Red Cross Association called on organisations and individuals to fund VND12.3 billion (US$550,000) and 30 tonnes of rice to affected people, while the province allocated money from its budget to purchase health insurance for over 9,000 people in affected families.

Poor and near-poor households hit by the disaster have received assistance to access low-interest loans for building fishing boats and switching to other jobs.

The local authorities plan to collect information concerning the incident in 56 communes with a total of 59,136 households and 215,433 people. The findings are expected to be reported to MoLISA on August 20. In early April, large quantities of fish washed up near the Vũng Áng Economic Zone in the central province of Hà Tĩnh. The incident stretched 200km along the central coast of Việt Nam.

The hardest hit areas were Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Trị, Quảng Bình and Thừa Thiên-Huế Provinces, where thousands of fishermen lost customers or were forced to sell fish at a loss.

Source: VNS

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