Viet Nam

Viet Nam: Ha Noi pumps around the clock

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All departments should make drainage of flooded areas of the city top priority along with ensuring food supplies and health services, Ha Noi People's Committee chairman Nguyen The Thao said at a municipal meeting yesterday morning.

The Yen So, My Dinh, Quan Ngua, Cau Buou, and Tu Liem pumping stations, in particular, were urged to draft more comprehensive drainage plans as well as proposals to add additional pumping equipment.

Dong Da District's Kim Lien Ward, which includes the Giai Phong-Dai Co Viet and Pham Ngoc Thach-Dao Duy Anh intersections, were currently being pumped 24 hours a day at a rate of 30,000cu.m per day, it was reported at the meeting.

Thao called for maintenance of current water levels in West Lake and closure of all drainage gates to turn the lake into a reservoir. For the areas surrounding Ba Dinh District's Ngoc Khanh Lake, two drainage gates to the To Lich River would be opened to help ease the flooding problem in this area.

City authorities at the meeting agreed to give VND3 million (US$181) to the family of each person killed in the floods and also decided to grant aid of at least five packets of instant noodles per person in the flooded areas for a period of five days, as well as supply additional free food and vegetables.

City markets have also become more stable, with 70 per cent of the usual supplies of food and vegetables reaching the markets, said Ho Quoc Khanh, head of Ha Noi Industrial and Trade Department's Trade Management Unit.

Prices remained higher than usual in some retail stores, however, said Khanh, although prices at supermarkets and shopping centres continued to be stable.

The National Steering Commitee for Storm and Flood Control has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to support the city with vegetable seeds to replant 10,000ha of damaged crops and asked city authorities to support farmers at a rate of VND150,000 ($9) per 360sq.m of winter crops and VND24million ($1,454) per hectare of fish-breeding lakes.

The city was also planning to allocate VND200 billion ($12 million) for restoration and repair of irrigation works and dyke systems.

Meanwhile, Dr Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the Ministry of Health's Environment and Preventative Medicine Department yesterday warned that Ha Noi residents were facing a risk of disease outbreaks, including dengue fever, diarrhoea, and eye infections after four days of flooding, if preventative measures were not taken immediately.

Dr Nguyen Thanh Liem, director of the Central Pediatrics Hospital, reported the hospital was admitting 600 patients per day with symptoms of diarrhoea, fever, and bronchitis.

"My wife and two children have had fevers since Saturday," said Nguyen Trung Truc, a resident of Thai Ha Street, one of the worst flooded streets in the city. "There are also a few other people in my neighbourhood with fevers and eye infections. Our houses have been submerged in waste water of about 50cm deep for four days, with no clean water or electricity."

"These are favourable conditions for infections to develop if no sterilisation measures are taken," agreed Liem, who said that all persons developing symptoms should be taken to health centres immediately to avoid risk of spreading infections.

Streets still flooded

According to Nguyen Quoc Hung, director of Ha Noi's transport department, streets still flooded include:

- In Ba Dinh District: Nui Truc, Giang Van Minh, Kim Ma, Lieu Giai-Van Bao, Dao Tan, Ngoc Khanh, Nguyen Chi Thanh, Thuî Khue, Lac Long Quan.

- In Dong Da District: Cat Linh, Ton Duc Thang, Nguyen Luong Bang, Ho Dac Di, Tay Son, Chua Boc, Ton That Tung, Truong Chinh, Tran Quang Dieu, Vo Van Dung, Lang Ha, Thai Thinh, Thai Ha.

- In Hoang Mai District: Dinh Cong, Truong Dinh, Phap Van, Giai Phong, Ngoc Hoi, Nguyen Duc Canh, Dai La, Minh Khai, Thanh Nhan.

- In Long Bien District: Nguyen Van Cu, Ngoc Lam, Nguyen Son, Nguyen Van Linh, streets under Duong Bridge, Vinh Tuy Bridge, Thanh Tri Bridge.

- In Cau Giay District: Tran Duy Hung (near Big C Supermarket), Xuan Thuy, Pham Hung, Tran Binh.

- In Thanh Xuan District: Nguyen Trai, Le Van Luong, Khuat Duy Tien.

For patients who cannot access hospitals, doctors will be available for emergency consultations by phone, according to Nguyen Van Chanh, deputy director of emergency centre 115.

Travel has been difficult for many in the flooded areas.

"It cost me up to VND300,000 altogather and two-and-a-half hours to go five kilometres from my house to my office. I had to go by boat and xe om [motorbike taxi]," said Lai Hong Minh, a resident of the Dai Kim Urban Area. "Although I agreed to pay very high prices, many were still reluctant to take me through the worst flooded places."

Giap Bat Bus Station, one of Ha Noi's three leading bus stations, was still out of commission yesterday because flood waters were at a depth of 1m, said Nguyen Huy Quang, director of the Ha' Noi Bus Stations Management Co.

"We are trying to co-operate with our nearby Nuoc Ngam Bus Station to move buses through," said Quang.

People in many locations have gone without power for four days.

"My family has never been in such a bad situation, without water or power for several days," said Nguyen Dang Tuan in Dinh Cong Urban Area. "It's really a disaster."

Nearly 100 220kw-transformer stations in the districts of Hai Ba Trung, Tu Liem, Hoang Mai, Thanh Xuan, and Tay Ho remained out of commission after four days.

Further north

The northern provinces of Ninh Binh, Vinh Phuc, Lang Son and Bac Giang have continued to mobilise volunteers to protect their dyke system, according to the National Steering Committee for Storm and Flood Control.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai yesterday saluted the efforts of Ninh Binh authorities and the public to shore up Hoang Long Dyke and the Lac Khoai Dam to ensure the safety of 100,000 households.

Hai also visited households in flooded areas and wished the provinces quick recovery from the aftermath of the floods, promising food, health services and other support for affected populations.

Officials have predicted that northern and central provinces would continue to be hit by rain and cold in the coming days. Water levels of rivers in the northern and central provinces were expected to rise over the level-3 alert stage, with levels in the Hoang Long River rising to 4.14m, in the Cau River to 6.01m, in the Thai Binh River to 4.39m, in the Buoi River to 11.60m, and in the Ca River to 7.43m.

An alert has also been sent out to mountainous districts at risk for landslides and to low-lying areas at risk of flash floods, said the committee.

Dinh Hieu - Thu Hoa.