Hanoi apartment fire survivors await support with anxiety.

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    Nov 2, 2023

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After Hanoi mini apartment fire, affected families await support money, staying in temporary shelters.


The mini apartment building on Khuong Ha Street, Thanh Xuan District remains barricaded and concealed by sheets even after six weeks since the fire incident. Security forces are diligently stationed round the clock to ensure the prevention of theft.

Many families residing in the building have been dispersed across various locations, primarily seeking shelter and support from their dear ones.

Nguyen Cong Huy and his family, consisting of four members, previously resided in apartment 201. However, due to unfortunate circumstances such as a fire incident, they have now sought shelter with Huy's sister, who conveniently lives close by. Huy's family had been one of the initial occupants of the mini apartment building when it was constructed in 2016.

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Huy expressed his distress, stating that he has lost almost all of his properties and now finds himself with very little. Despite this difficult situation, he mentioned that his family continues to prioritize their health by undergoing regular check-ups as advised by their doctor.

Ever since the fire incident, Huy's reflexes still cause him to flinch whenever sparks emanate from a welder. Despite the tremendous upheaval in his life, he musters the strength to resume his work.

The residents of the small apartment building have convened to deliberate on the way forward. Huy expressed that all families desire relocation to a safer dwelling, considering the precarious condition of the current apartment structure.

The family, up until now, has been provided with a sum of VND160 million ($6,512) by the authorities of Khuong Dinh Ward to sustain themselves. Huy intends to utilize this amount, along with additional contributions and further financial assistance, to acquire another dwelling.

Nguyen Thi Hoa and her husband find themselves facing a similar predicament as another family in their community. Due to unfortunate circumstances, they are currently residing in the house of their children. Their once cozy second-floor apartment has been reduced to rubble, leaving only bare steel beams exposed as a haunting reminder of its former existence.

The couple eagerly awaits the arrival of the support money, as they hope to find a new place soon and avoid relying on their children for too long.

Hoa expressed her familiarity with the lifestyle and surroundings of Khuong Dinh, indicating that she has grown accustomed to them. As a result, she is now seeking a location in close proximity to her former apartment.

"She expressed that going back to the old apartment and resuming life there would pose a challenge."

Doctor Vu Thi Nhung, one of the individuals severely injured in the devastating fire and admitted to Bach Mai Hospital, has shown remarkable progress in her recovery. Despite enduring a challenging ordeal, she has managed to resume her work duties within just a week. While her overall health has significantly improved, continuous monitoring is necessary as she recovers from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In order to ensure proper care for her children, Nhung made the decision to send them to her hometown where their grandparents could look after them. Meanwhile, she, her husband, and her sister found a rental place to live. Despite facing the unfortunate fire incident, Nhung's family bravely returned to their old apartment on two occasions to retrieve important documents and clothes. However, due to the current sealing of the apartment building, they were unable to retrieve any of their valuable belongings.

"She mentioned that she could only grab an outdated rice cooker."

Nhung's family is set to receive financial aid from the Hanoi authorities, with each member being granted VND40 million. Additionally, Thanh Xuan District will provide an extra VND7 million to assist the family. As a result of the devastating fire incident, three motorbikes belonging to the family were completely destroyed. However, they have since been provided with two new motorbikes to aid in their daily commute. Nhung expressed her intention to relocate her family if they are able to acquire the necessary financial support.

Single payment

Pham Anh Tuan, the vice chairman of the Hanoi Fatherland Front Committee, announced that a total of over VND130 billion has been received in donations by the committee from both organizations and individuals.

The Thanh Xuan District Fatherland Front has allocated VND6 billion from the donations received to provide immediate support to survivors, granting each individual VND40 million. Additionally, the city has allocated VND9 billion from its budget to assist with various expenses such as resettlement, funeral arrangements, and educational costs. These measures have been implemented prior to devising a concrete distribution plan.

Tuan responded to criticisms claiming that the Hanoi fronts were distributing resources too slowly, stating that the current timeframe for receiving and distributing resources remained compliant with regulations.

The donation collection period should not extend beyond 90 days from the commencement of the drive.

The allocation of resources should be completed within a 20-day period following the cessation of donations, which occurred on October 16th.

The plan for the distribution of support money has been finalized by the Hanoi Fatherland Front Committee. An official announcement regarding the plan is expected to be made before November 6. Following this, Thanh Xuan District will promptly distribute the support money to the affected individuals.

Tuan stated that the funds will be provided as a single cash payment. He emphasized that the Committee did not consider any assistance for resettlement, as each family has their individual plans in place.

According to Tuan, the distribution process will be implemented as directed, taking into account various factors such as the allocated funds, extent of damage, and the specific requests of each family. Although Tuan did not provide specific details, he emphasized that the financial aid would be distributed on an individual basis, evaluating each case independently.

During a discussion at the National Assembly on Tuesday, Truong Thi Ngoc Anh, vice chairwoman of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, highlighted that the majority of donated resources have been primarily directed towards Thanh Xuan District. The Hanoi Fatherland Front has also received generous support from various regions and prominent businesses.

According to Anh, it is crucial to allocate sufficient time for conducting a thorough process evaluation and establishing appropriate policies.

In mid-September, a tragic fire broke out in a mini apartment building in Hanoi, claiming the lives of 56 individuals and leaving 37 others injured. As a result, the owner of the building has been taken into custody for a duration of four months while authorities conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

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