Social Headlines December 28

Russian lecture educates Vietnam’s nuclear students

A lecture entitled VVER Technologies: Experience and Perspective after Fukushima was held on December 21 at the Electric Power University in Hanoi to build the capacity of national nuclear energy specialists in Vietnam.

The lecture was delivered by Russian expert A. Khrobostov, director of the Institute for Nuclear Energy and Technical Physics of the Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University n.a. R.E. Alekseev. He spoke on the modern trends of nuclear power plans (NPP) and developments of Russian safety technologies after the incident at Fukushima Daiichi. More than 100 students of the Nuclear Power faculty gathered for the speech.

The event was organised by the Russia’s State Nuclear Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) in partnership with the Russian university and was hosted by Hanoi’s Electric Power University.

The Russian NPP safety programme started long before the Fukushima accident and is furthering its development through lessons learned through the accident.

ROSATOM is making great efforts to develop nuclear human resources in Vietnam and localisation of production. Recently, representatives of scientific and research organisations and relevant government bodies paid a visit to Atomenergoproekt JSC in Moscow where they were introduced to NPP projects using VVER technology, characteristics of security systems using VVER technology and those using post-Fukushima engineering solutions.

The Vietnamese specialists were also introduced to state-of-the-art designs used by the company. Vietnam’s representatives attended demonstrations of a wide range of technologies and engineering solutions both in use today and those not yet applied.

ROSATOM brings together more than 250 enterprises and scientific institutions including all of Russia’s civil nuclear companies, nuclear weapons complexes, research organisations and its nuclear-propelled fleet. The group is Russia’s largest utility, producing more than 40 per cent of electricity for the country’s European side.

Baby with congenital heart disease saved

A two-month-old baby in Hanoi with complicated deformities in heart has been saved after an eight hour surgery in the Hanoi Heart Hospital.

The 2.6kg baby, Pham Tien Dat from suburban My Duc district, was discharged from the hospital on December 23 after 26 days of intensive treatment.

The baby was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of respiratory failure and pneumonia.

Doctor Nguyen Sinh Hien, Deputy Director of the hospital, said this was a complicated case because the baby was several months old and underweight. He was rescued thanks to emergency operation and promptly intensive treatment.

The surgery’s success opened a new prospect on operation and treatment for children with complicatedly congenital heart diseases.-

Nearly 200 kids hospitalised for suspected poisoning

As many as 185 children from Phuoc The Kindergarten, between one and five years old, have been admitted to hospital for cases of suspected food poisoning.

The victims, all attending the Phuoc The communal kindergarten in southern Binh Thuan province’s Tuy Phong district, were hospitalised on the evening of December 25 suffering nausea, stomach pains, and vomiting.

Tuy Phong District People’s Committee Vice Chairwoman Pham Thi My Loan confirmed 165 children were taken to Tuy Phong District Hospital. A further 20 were sent to Northern Binh Thuan Hospital in the nearby district of Bac Binh.

Many have already been discharged but some remain in critical conditions, Loan said.

Northern Binh Thuan Hospital Deputy Director Dr. Mieu Tieu Chong said the victims’ symptoms included fever, bellyaches and vomiting.

The Binh Thuan Provincial Department of Health is investigating the cause of the suspected poisoning.

Authorities will test food samples taken from Phuoc The Kindergarten’s December 25 lunches.

This is Binh Thuan province’s largest reported case of poisoning.

Increase in farmers annual income in last few years: Minister

The average income of farmers has continued to grow in the last few years to now touch an annual income of nearly VND20 million (US$952), said Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Minister Phat announced this at a meeting on December 25 in Hanoi to review the five-year implementation of Resolution 7 of the Party Central Committee for agriculture, farmers and rural development.

The Minister stated that the growth of agriculture, forestry and aquaculture between 2009 and 2013 saw an annual average increase of 2.9 per cent.

For the last five years, the Party Central Committee plan as per Resolution 7 has helped revamp the face of rural districts and farmers’ living conditions.

In the agriculture sector, production has soared with higher quality and increased exports. Farmers’ average annual income has hit nearly VND20 million ($952), 2.18 times higher than in 2008. Poverty has also slumped by 12.6 percent compared to 2008.

However, the Minister acknowledged that there have been shortcomings in the agriculture sector such as not applying advanced technology in production, low competitiveness, a stagnant restructuring process, and a widening income gap between the rural and urban areas, and between the lowland and mountainous regions.

Speaking at the meeting, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung stressed that the governments, ministries, and concerned agencies should realize the role of agriculture and farmers in the nation’s growth.

Drinking crackdown nets 10,000 plus

Police across the nation have reported more than 10,000 drinking and driving violations in about a month after a campaign to strengthen inspections of the offence was launched, according to Road and Rail Traffic Police Administration.

Altogether 9,000 driving licenses have been revoked and more than 10,100 vehicles seized.

Cities and provinces that have seen a high number of violations include HCM City, the Mekong Delta’s provinces of Tra Vinh, Dong Thap, Ca Mau and Hau Giang, the central provinces of Quang Tri, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Da Nang City, and the northern provinces of Quang Ninh and Phu Tho, the administration said.

Human trafficker gets 20 years in prison

Central Quang Nam Province’s People’s Court on Wednesday sentenced Nguyen Sa Ry, 56, to 20 years in prison for trafficking a woman and three girls across the border to China.

The indictment said that Ry enticed the woman and girls, all belonging to the Khmer ethnic minority community, to go with him to HCM City, promising them jobs.

The four were then handed over to a woman and taken to the Mong Cai border gate in northern Quang Ninh Province, from where they would be smuggled across the border to China and forced to work as prostitutes.

Ry was caught by locals in the central province of Quang Nam as he was taking the woman and the girls to Quang Ninh.

He confessed to the police that he had previously trafficked three women to China, for which he was paid VND9 million (US$141) in total.

Bus fees increase for Tet holiday

A mass of transport service companies operating at the HCM City – based Mien Dong (East bound) Coach Station have been raising the price of coach fares for weekdays by five to ten percent since mid-November, aiming to push prices up for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

According to the station’s regulations, travel businesses are allowed to raise fares for coaches from the city to destinations in central and northern provinces for peak days during Tet by 20-60 per cent.

The increase in fares is aimed at making up for lost revenue for coaches that will return to the city with low passenger numbers after taking people to their hometowns for the holiday.

The Sao Vang Transport Service Trading Ltd Co has raised fares for trips from the city to the central province of Quang Ngai by six per cent. The cost of a seat since early this month has gone up to VND340,000 (US$16), and a bunk has risen to 390,000 ($18) on weekdays. The price will reach between VND544,000 ($25) and VND624,000 ($29) during the Tet holiday.

If the company hadn’t increased the fare on weekdays, passengers would only have paid VND512,000 ($24) for a seat and VND592,000 ($28) for a bunk during the holiday.

Some transport businesses that sell tickets outside the station have taken advantage of the increase to illegally double their fares.

Duong Hong Thanh, Deputy Director of the city’s Transport Department, told Tuoi Tre (The Youth) newspaper that inspectors were only responsible for managing and tackling violations involving ticket prices sold inside coach stations.

“Currently, there are no regulations to punish transport business that sell tickets outside the stations for an inflated price,” Thanh said.

The city’s Transport Department advised passengers to purchase tickets directly from the station to avoid problems.

Transport inspectors have also been asked to strengthen inspections at the city’s coach stations.

Since early this month, some transport businesses in Ha Noi’s My Dinh Coach Station have increased fares for weekdays by 5-18 percent.

Police arrest gang ring over credit card fraud

A gang of thieves who buy credit card numbers from hackers and make phony bookings at hotels, later cancelling the reservations with hotel sales executives who are also part of the scam has been uncovered.

The group includes five men: Nguyen Hoang Anh, 27, of central Nghe An Province, the gang’s leader; and Nguyen Hai Ha, 32, Mai Quoc Viet, 25, Dao Viet Anh, 28, and Vo Viet Phuong, 33, all from Ha Noi.

Anh and his accomplices were allegedly using the computer and internet to appropriate property, according to the Police Department for High-Tech Crime Prevention under the Ha Noi Police. Investigative documents showed that Anh bought real credit-card numbers from hackers.

In June, Anh’s group, using the hacked credit-card numbers, reserved rooms at several hotels in Viet Nam via two booking websites, Expedia.com and Agoda.com. However, they never stayed at the hotels, and instead, worked with hotel sales executives responsible for online bookings who were also participating in the scam.

Police said the hotel staff cancelled the bookings and then met face-to-face with gang members to give them the money that had been credited to the hotel.

Since the middle of 2013, the gang have made bookings at 19 hotels in Viet Nam, including nine in Ha Noi, police said.

The gang appropriated a total of VND1.4 billion ($66,500) million, including VND700 million ($33,250) from Ha Noi-based hotels, police said.

Anh and his accomplices took 60 per cent of the amount, and the rest was given to the hotel staff taking part in the scam, according to police.

Police are continuing to investigate the case.

Vietnamese students in Russia continue to increase

The Voice of Russia reports approximately 6,000 Vietnamese students are currently studying in Russia, 2,000 of whom are sponsored under a recent intergovernmental agreement reached between the two nations.

The agreement stipulates the Vietnamese Government will cover all training and accommodation costs for eligible students.

Authorities are anticipating a rise in student numbers following President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Vietnam and the ensuing negotiation of new training cooperation agreements.

Vietnamese students are distributed across six Russian universities. The Russian Government now offers 1,000 of its 15,000 total annual scholarships to Vietnamese students.

Tula State University, with 180 Vietnamese undergraduates and postgraduates, has the largest Vietnamese student community in Russia.

Russian education experts say Vietnamese students have a firm grasp of fundamentals and are serious about their studies.

They actively participate in sports and cultural activities at their respective universities. Many Vietnamese students have placed highly in physics, chemistry, maths, and informatics Olympiads.

The experts are confident regulatory reforms regarding recruiting overseas students to Russian universities will also encourage more Vietnamese students to pursue Russian educational opportunities.

Vietnam labour confederation holds third conference

The third conference of the Executive Board of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) for the 2013-18 tenure took place in Hanoi on December 26 in the presence of President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee.

The meeting reviewed the implementation of trade union activities in 2013 and discussed how to effectively perform the tasks of the sector in 2014.

Participants heard and gave comments to the VGCL’s resolution on improving cultural and spiritual life for labourers working in industrial parks and export processing zones.

Speaking at the event, VFF President Nguyen Thien Nhan praised the efforts made by trade unions nationwide for obtaining achievements in their work.

He said the VFF will propose the Government issue a strategy on implementing the campaign “Vietnamese priorities made-in-Vietnam goods” to 2020 and asked trade unions nationwide to well respond to the campaign.

The President also asked the VGCL to attach importance to listening to desire and aspiration of workers and have timely commendation of outstanding individuals and organizations in production.

He also urged the trade unions to increase the supervision of the implementation of planning on housing for labourers, especially those in industrials parks in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai and Binh Duong.

In 2013, the VGCL worked closely with relevant agencies to give advice to the Government for the issue of Resolution on detailed regulations of financial issues in trade unions.

The unions have also worked hard to take care of labourers and protect their legitimate rights and interests, creating the workforce’s confidence in the trade unions.

Healthy, productive working environment ensured

Sexual harassment at workplace needs to be solved thoroughly to protect legitimate rights of every worker and ensure a healthy and productive working environment, Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Vietnam Gyorgy Sziraczki has said.

Sziraczki made the statement at a workshop held in the central city of Da Nang on December 26, with the introduction of a guide and enterprises’ good practices on preventing and addressing sexual harassment at workplace.

Standing Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Hoang Van Dung said that the guide will provide enterprises with knowledge and methods to prevent and address the bad behaviour, which will contribute to the development of harmonious labour relations in businesses.

Over the past time, the ILO and the VCCI have coordinated to implement a pilot programme on preventing and combating the bad behaviour at several enterprises, especially since this sensitive issue for the first time was prohibited in the amended 2012 Labour Code which started effect on May 1, 2013.

With the support of the pilot programme, some enterprises have banned this behaviour in their work regulations.

They have also set up communication campaigns and organised training activities to raise the awareness of sexual harassment at workplace.

Japanese pump maker helps Vietnam in flood control

Ebara, Japan’s leading water pump maker, has inaugurated its first Vietnam-based plant with the intention of helping the country in flood prevention and control.

Ebara hosted an early December seminar in Hanoi that focused on improving pump systems used in irrigation and flood control and promoting greater degrees of experience exchange, human resource training, and technology transfer.

Leading experts discussed the issues commonly arising when operating pumping stations.

Ebara established its Hatakeyama Memorial Fund (EHMF) in 1989 as a means of deepening mutual understanding and cultivating amicable international relationships, particularly in Southeast Asia. Its cooperative initiatives, many of which are centred on technology, have included hosting 232 Southeast Asian seminars for more than 10,000 participants.

Over the 2013 fiscal year, the EHMF organised seven seminars in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and other localities deemed especially vulnerable to natural disasters caused by climate change.

Khanh Hoa welcomes 3 million tourist arrivals

The central coastal province of Khanh Hoa received more than 3 million tourist arrivals in 2013, an increase of over 29% against the previous year.

The figure included nearly 712,000 foreigners and 2.3 million domestic visitors, up 34% and 28%, respectively, said the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The province also welcomed 11 million others who made one-day visits.

With 150,000 arrivals, Russia topped the list of countries sending citizens to Khanh Hoa thanks to a new direct air route connecting Russia’s Far East and the province’s Cam Ranh airport and another linking Moscow and Nha Trang city.

The number of Russian tourists was followed by those of Australia, the US, France, the UK, and Germany.

The time that foreign tourists spend here also increased to more than 3.2 days per person.

There are more than 540 tourist residence facilities, including 48 three- to five-star hotels, with nearly 15,000 rooms in Khanh Hoa, where shopping and entertainment centres as well as unique tourism products are mushrooming.

In 2014, the province plans to further improve its facilities, provide more tourism products, and become a friendly, safe and healthy destination.

It will also increase collaboration with key localities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Lam Dong, Dak Lak and Ninh Thuan provinces to fully utilise its maritime and ecological tourism advantages.

Vietnam’s MIA office marks 40th founding anniversary

The Vietnam Office for Seeking Mission Personnel (VNOSMP) held a ceremony on December 26 to mark its 40th founding anniversary.

The office has, over the past 40 years, performed well its function of consulting the Party and State and supporting the ministries in searching for personnel listed as missing in action (MIA) during the American war.

The effective settlement of the MIA issue in Vietnam has made important contributions to untangling the knots in the Vietnam-US relations, helping improve the bilateral ties.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc and deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan spoke highly of the contributions by the office as well as the effective support from ministries, agencies and localities in the work MIA over the past time.-

Experience in building new rural areas shared with Lao

Officials of the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang on December 26 shared experiences in building new rural areas and military reserve with a visiting delegation of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.

Hosts presented their effective measures in building new rural areas such as focusing on building infrastructure like roads and irrigation facilities and guiding residents in the cultivation of high-value products.

After three years, three out of the 11 pilot communes have fulfilled all the 19 national criteria for new rural areas and the rest, 15 or 16 criteria.

The provincial Military High Command also shared experience in building reserve such as working out concrete plans basing on tasks assigned to its units each year and paying due attention to training.

HCM City spreads Methadone treatment for addicts

Ho Chi Minh City’s Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department on December 26 launched a Methadone-used addiction treatment programme.

Around 200 people who are addicted to various types of addictive substances will benefit from the programme, which is undertaken by the drug detoxification and counseling centre run by the department.

According to the municipal AIDS Prevention and Control Committee, the pilot application of Methadone therapy has brought concrete outcomes in reducing HIV transmission.

As many as 1,334 people are taking the treatment, showing positive changes psychologically and physically.

Vietnam will apply methadone therapy in 80,000 drug users in 30 cities and provinces nationwide by 2015 following the efficacy of the medication as well as its socio-economic benefits confirmed in its pilot programmes.

Five years since the therapy was launched, the nation now has 61 methadone clinics in 20 cities and provinces, treating around 14,000 drug users with no fatality due to excessive medication and unexpected side effects recorded.

After a 24-month treatment course, the percentage of patients, who are at high risk of depression, slid to 15 percent from 80 percent while a mere 1.3 percent commit to legal violations, reported the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Department of the Ministry of Health.

A heath ministry-conducted survey on over 1,000 patients in clinics across Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong, which have piloted the treatment since April, 2008, found 96 percent of them continue with the medication after the recommended treating course finishes while only 15.87 percent relapse into bad habits. Up to 75.9 percent of them now get employed.

The medication has also saved over VND1 trillion (US$47.6 million) per year for 13,000 addicts in 11 cities and provinces as a drug user used to spend VND230,000 (US$10.1) on heroin, meaning nearly VND84 million (US$4,000) a year.

HCM City leads in poverty reduction

Truong Thi Mai, Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, has hailed Ho Chi Minh City for its achievements in poverty reduction, saying the city has set the highest poverty line nationwide.

She made the appraisal while inspecting the city’s implementation of policies and laws on poverty reduction during the 2005-2012 period on December 25-26.

HCM City is the only locality across the country that provides codes to poor households, Mai said, adding that the city has devised particular policies on poverty reduction suitable with each period of time.

It recently decided to raise poverty benchmark to 16 million VND (752 USD) per person per year for 2014-2015 from 12 million VND set for the previous period.

The move has made it easier for local people to access the State’s policies, she noted, highlighting the city’s mobilisation of various resources to the programme along with its budget.

Mai suggested the locality pay more attention to improving living standards of households near the poverty line.

HCM City now has about 16,000 poor households with nine districts having no poor households. Between 2005 and 2012, the city granted more than 2 million health insurance cards to poor people at a cost of 428 billion VND, and built and upgraded over 17,400 houses.

Vietnam had over 2.1 million poor households and more than 1.4 million others living near the poverty line in 2012.

A survey conducted by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs showed that the poverty rate in 2012 was reduced by 2.12 percent, exceeding the target of 2 percent set by the National Assembly. In particular, the rate sharply fell in poor districts with 7.02 percent while the NA target was just 4 percent.-

HCM City: 9th Lawrence S.Ting Walk in January

The 9th Lawrence S.Ting Charity Walk will take place on January 11 in Phu My Hung Urban Area of District 7, Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the organsers, 11,500 people have registered to walk the walk with donations of over 1.2 billion VND (roughly 60,000 USD) as by Dec. 26.

For the purpose of raising fund for poor people in the city, the charity walk has to date collected more than 14 billion VND, including 2.4 billion VND in 2013.

The organiser, the Phu My Hung Company, has eagerly taken part in other community-target programmes, such as granting Lawrence S.Ting scholarships to local students with poor living conditions, and donating wheelchairs to the disabled and medical equipment to hospitals nationwide.-

Support needed for countryside women to learn jobs

Due attention should be given to working out support policies to encourage women in rural areas to voluntarily take vocational training courses to improve their lives and their participation in the national industrialisation and modernisation.

Women account for 52 percent of Vietnam’s workforce, concentrating mostly in rural areas. The percentage of countryside women yet trained with occupations, however, remains high, at 90.7 percent.

Statistics on gender in Vietnam in the 200-2010 period revealed up to 80.5 percent of women living in rural areas in the Red river delta region in the north and 92.3 percent of women in the Mekong delta region in the south have no job skills.

Women with university, college and higher education levels in the Red river delta account for 11.2 percent while the rate is only 4.1 percent in the Mekong delta region.

Professor and Doctor Pham Thi Tran Chau, President of the Vietnam Association for Intellectual Women, said that it is necessary to diversify training forms to attract females in rural areas to learn jobs.

Vietnam’s population officially hit 90 million on November 1, with about 63 million people in working age, reflecting the ‘golden population structure’ in the country. The country is to see about 1 million people joining workforce annually.

As an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Vietnam, the “golden population structure” offers an opportunity to improve workers’ standard so that the economic structure can be transferred in line with the labour structure, especially the female labour force in rural areas.

Vietnam has launched a national strategy on gender equality for the 2011-2020 period with the aim of raising awareness, narrowing gender gap and enhancing women’s position.

The Government has deployed solutions in terms of law enforcement and international cooperation to surpass challenges regarding the awareness about gender equality, and eliminate gender and domestic violence as well as gender gaps of employment, income and social position.

By the end of 2011, female literacy was 92 percent and about 80 percent of girls at remote, far-flung and ethnic regions go to school at the right age.

Thanks to such efforts, Vietnam was placed 47 th out of 187 countries in the UN’s Gender Inequality Index last year compared with its 58 th position out of 136 countries recorded in 2010.

However, Vietnam is still facing an array of challenges such as low percentage of ethnic women involving in leadership at all levels and high poverty rate among minority groups.

The government will continue working to raise public awareness of gender equality while strengthening international cooperation in dealing with gender inequality, especially among disadvantaged groups and in strategic realms such as education, healthcare and employment.-

Hanoi sets to spare 32 million kWh of power in 2014

The capital city of Hanoi has set to save 32 million kWh of electricity in 2014 by stepping up the ongoing power saving movement to make energy saving become a habit among citizens.

Communication campaigns will be launched widely in diverse forms to encourage people to voluntarily get involved in the movement.

The city plans to launch 200 model power saving streets and 60 model power saving families in the year.

In 2013, energy saving efforts helped Hanoi spare 30 million kWh of power, which was equivalent to 45 billion VND.

Vietinbank builds houses for needy ethnic people in Ha Giang

The Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) on December 25 handed over seven houses worth 350 million VND (16,450 USD) to poor ethnic households in Meo Vac district, the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang.

Since 2009, the bank has provided over 250 billion VND (11,750,000 USD) to poor localities in the province in implementing government’s poverty reduction and social welfare programmes.

The money was used to build houses, schools and safe water reservoirs in the locality.

Through its assistance, the bank also helped upgrade the Lung Cu flag tower in Dong Van district and presented cattle to poor families and ambulances to hospitals in the province, contributing to promoting socio-economic development and reducing poverty in Ha Giang.

On the occasion, the bank’s branch in Ha Giang also gave cows for poor households in Quan Ba district, helping them develop their production and increasing income.-

Expert says neglect of duty in mining a form of corruption

The neglect of obligations in protecting the environment in exploiting natural resources can be seen a delicate form of corruption, an expert said at a seminar on Wednesday on transparency initiatives to protect the environment.

Dang Hung Vo, former deputy minister of natural resources and environment, told the meeting that many investors belittle the task of environment protection in their projects, thus doing harm to the environment and the community.

The strategic environment assessment and the environment protection statement required for such projects, especially those in mining, have not properly attended to by project owners, and in many cases, investors prepare such studies only to gain regulatory approval for their projects, Vo said.

The community can hardly get access to information on environment protection from each project, while compensations for the community due to environmental damages have not been properly enforced, he said.

“The failure to fulfill environment protection obligation in projects to tap natural resources is therefore a form of corruption,” he told the seminar organized by the non-profit organization PanNature in Hanoi.

Do Thanh Bai from Chemistry Society of Vietnam said thousands of licenses had been issued to investors as of may 2013 to tap natural resources nationwide. These include 79 licenses issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, 530 licenses issued by other central agencies, and 4,200 licenses granted by provincial governments.

However, between 30% and 40% of mining enterprises do not make periodic reports on their operations as required, he said.

Under prevailing regulations, of all the taxes payable by mining enterprises, 30% is to be paid to the central State Budget, while the remaining 70% is paid to provincial coffers. Information about the payment of such taxes is not transparent, Bai said.

HCM City lures investment for anti-flooding dyke project

The HCMC government is calling for investment in an anti-flooding dyke project stretching 120 kilometers from the Saigon River to the Vam Thuat River in District 12 and Muong Chuoi Bridge in Nha Be District with the total capital of around VND12 trillion.

Nguyen Ngoc Cong, deputy director of the Steering Center for Urban Flood Control Program, told the Daily on Wednesday that the local government is calling for investors to develop the dyke project under the public-private partnership format.

The dyke is designed to be 2.5 meters above sea level. The project along with tidal sluices Tan Thuan, Ben Nghe and Phu Xuan will help reduce flooding in seven districts in the inner city.

There are two investors showing interest in the project – a domestic firm and a German company. They have suggested that they would build the dyke with their own funds and in exchange they must be entitled to use some sections as canoe and yacht berths, ports and build riverside ecological tourist sites.

Cong said that the center will work with the Singapore Business Association next week to call for investment in the project. Singaporean firms are very strong in dyke and port construction, Cong added.

Ho Long Phi, director of the HCMC Center for Water Management and Climate Change, said that the dyke project will only help deal with flooding caused by flood tides while the issue of water drainage from inside will remain.

Currently, central districts are short of nearly 4,000 kilometers of sewers, so flooding will occur after heavy rain. For instance, Dong Den Street in Tan Binh District was heavily submerged due to an overloaded drainage system a few days ago, Phi said.

It is necessary to complete anti-flooding measures against flood tides and rainwater, building up dykes, tidal sluices, improving drainage sewers in the inner city and build rainwater reservoirs. Otherwise, the anti-flooding program will not work, he added.

Cong of the Steering Center for Urban Flood Control Program said that the VND12-trillion dyke project is part of the city’s anti-flooding program approved by the Government in 2008. The total capital of the project has been revised up to VND57.8 trillion compared to the earlier estimation of VND11 trillion.

Up until now, only 31 out of 149 kilometers of dykes and one out of nine large tidal sluices of the project have been completed.

Source: VNA/VNS/Nhandan/VOV/SGT

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