HCM CITY – High tides have exceeded warning level three of six, submerging HCM City streets and causing terrible traffic congestion.
The tides have flooded several streets and alleys since Wednesday. The city’s central area, moreover, experienced rising tides for the first time.
Huỳnh Tấn Phát Street in District 7, Lê Văn Lương Street in Nhà Bè District, Hồ Ngọc Lãm Street in Bình Tân District and Võ Văn Kiệt Avenue were among spots severely affected.
Business activities were suspended and homes and assets were damaged. Hundreds of vehicles stalled due to flood water, causing traffic jams.
District 2’s Thảo Điền Commune, a place of modern high-rise apartments and a hub of the city’s expatriate community, witnessed the same situation. Some of the many flooded streets included Quốc Hương Street, Street 41 and 65.
Responding to the rising tides, people set up simple anti-flood systems for their homes, using sandbags and Styrofoam boxes, which had little effect.
Tôn Thị Bảy of Nhà Bè District complained to Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper about the rising tides’ consequences.
“Dealing with the tides is exhausting. I feel like I am living in the Mekong Delta, not in the city,” she said.
HCM City has invested nearly VNĐ2,500 billion (US$110 million) in flood prevention projects in 2017. However, the projects have brought little improvement as the city has faced severe flooding due to rising tides, water discharge and torrential rains recently.
At the sixth session of the HCM City People’s Council on Monday, experts suggested massive urban development and skyscraper construction contributed to the situation.
Deputy Nguyễn Văn Xuân of Bình Thạnh District cited Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh street as an example.
With five residence complexes and more than 18,000 apartments, this area has become the most severely flooded spot of HCM City. Moreover, the huge population and traffic influx have made the street subside and destroyed its drainage system, leading to frequent waterlogging, according to a report issued by HCM City Department of Transport.
The Southern Hydro-Meteorological Station said that, under the effect of strong winds on the East Sea (South China Sea), the tide level on Sài Gòn – Đồng Nai river system had risen quickly in the last two days and reached its peak of 1.68m, 0.22m higher than the warning level three, on Wednesday morning.
The water level is expected to decrease in the next days but remain high.
Tide wave in Bình Dương
The Sài Gòn River in the southern province of Bình Dương has reached a height of 1.62m, its highest point in 66 years, causing serious disruption to local life and challenging flood prevention strategies, local authorities said.
The water level rise was intensified by continuous rain for the last two days. It has now surpassed the level of alarm by 0.32m and is 0.03m higher than last year’s record.
It has destroyed parts of the Sài Gòn River bank with cracks three metres long appearing on the bank, canals and sewage gates, causing water to overflow on about 110m of the bank, according to the Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Rescue in the province’s Thủ Dầu Một City and the Centre for Rural Clean Water Exploitation and Irrigation Investment.
About 70ha of agricultural production land and 510m of roads were damaged causing inconvenience for 460 households in the affected area. Floods of between 0.1-0.6m occurred everywhere in the city.
Vũ Ngọc Thìn, deputy director of Bình Dương’s Irrigation Department, said the department had coordinated with the Disaster Prevention and Rescue Committee of Thuận An Town in Thủ Dầu Một City and other local authorities to mobilise all materials and deploy forces to deal with the damage caused by the rising water level.
To prevent floods that will likely result from the tide increase, Thìn said, the standing office of the provincial Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Rescue has requested its branch in Thủ Dầu Một City to take all necessary measures to help locals stabilise their lives as quickly as possible.
Floods hit Bến Tre
An unusually high tide that has persisted since the beginning of this month has caused floods in many areas in the southern province of Bến Tre, according to local authorities and residents.
Lê Bạch Đằng, a local in Giồng Trôm District, said the tide is the highest of the last five years.
Đằng cited floods around his home area in normal years just hit the lower garden but this year have reached the house floor, about 20cm higher than last time.
Đằng said he was terribly worried for his family’s 6,000 square metres of fruits, which were now seriously submerged in water.
Meanwhile, Nguyễn Anh Linh, vice chairman of the Chợ Lách District’s People’s Committee said the high water was threatening a total of 1,000ha of fruits and more than 7 million of bonsai trees specially planted for Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday. — VNS