Saigon locals take initiative, independently fixing flooded streets.

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    Nov 7, 2023

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100+ families in HCMC's District 12 united, self-funded and fixed their flood-prone street when authorities failed to assist.


Ever since the commencement of the rainy season in southern Vietnam last April, a significant portion of An Phu Dong 35 Street has been persistently inundated. This troublesome situation spans across a stretch of approximately 400 meters on the street, which extends for about 4 kilometers and intersects with National Highway 1.

Over the last six months, the residents living on this street have been enduring the continuous flooding situation without any respite. This unfortunate circumstance has not only disrupted their businesses but also resulted in significant damage to the road infrastructure. Potholes have emerged, posing risks to safety, and both vehicles and pedestrians have experienced a substantial decrease in speed due to the hindered flow of traffic.

According to Vo Thi Ngoc Lan, the chairwoman of An Phu Dong Ward, the absence of a drainage system has resulted in persistent flooding on the road. In addition, she mentioned that the combination of heavy traffic and stagnant water has accelerated the deterioration of the road's conditions.

According to her statement, the ward initiated a road improvement project in 2021 and 2022. Unfortunately, insufficient funding caused the work to come to a halt, resulting in an unfinished section of the road.

Additionally, she mentioned that back in July, the ward put forth a suggestion to allocate funds from the district's budget for road enhancement purposes. Regrettably, the district declined this proposal, attributing it to insufficient funding availability.

We have some positive news to share as the flooding situation is expected to come to an end soon. This promising development can be attributed to the collective efforts of all 114 affected families who have willingly agreed to contribute funds towards upgrading the road.

Last week, precisely on Wednesday morning, Kiem, a 50-year-old individual, positioned himself on the sidewalk eagerly observing the resumption of repair work.

Kiem, the owner of a barber shop located on An Phu Dong 35 Street, expressed his concern regarding the significant decline in his daily customer count. Previously accustomed to serving an average of 20 clients per day, he now finds himself attending to a mere three or four individuals.

According to Kiem, there were instances where his residence and barber shop would get inundated with rising waters, resulting in significant damage to his furniture.

Despite his claims of lifting the sidewalk and the house's foundation three times, his efforts proved ineffective in mitigating the recurring flooding problem.

Despite numerous petitions from him and several other affected families, local authorities have failed to address the problem adequately. Several meetings were held to discuss the issue, yet no comprehensive solutions were ever implemented.

Last month marked a significant milestone as the affected families and the district finally reached a consensus. Under this agreement, the district has committed to allocating over VND1.9 billion (equivalent to US$77,000) towards the road upgrade, while local residents have pledged to contribute VND1.7 billion towards the construction of sewer systems.

Kiem expressed his willingness to pay VND4 million for the task, emphasizing his strong desire to complete it in order to restore normalcy to both his business and personal life.

Kiem's neighbor expressed his contentment in contributing VND3.2 million towards the road repair.

The individual, who is 35 years old, expressed their frustration with the prolonged flooding that has severely impacted their family's life.

As the owner of a motorbike repair shop, he often found himself facing a challenging task during periods of heavy rain. On such occasions, he tirelessly devoted his nights to safeguarding the valuable equipment and machinery by diligently draining floodwater.

During days of high tides, despite his efforts of placing sandbags at the front door, floodwater would still manage to rise up to his bed.

Despite this, he expressed his willingness to join the workers at the construction site in order to expedite the progress of the work.

He expressed that once the flooding subsides, our lives will regain stability.

For the past six months, An Phu Dong 35 Street in Ho Chi Minh City has been continuously submerged in water. This distressing situation is evident in the photograph captured by VnExpress/Dinh Van.

This month, the district's state budget and contributions from local residents will be used to repair and upgrade An Phu Dong 35 road, along with four other roads.

The collective expenditure for the construction of the five roads amounts to approximately VND12 billion, with local residents contributing nearly half of this funding.

The residents residing on Huynh Thi Hai Street in Tan Chanh Hiep Ward are currently bearing the entire expense for the road repairs.

Dau An Phuc, vice chairman of District 12, mentioned that despite being an outlying area, the district still has numerous "rural roads" lacking proper drainage systems.

As urban development continues at a rapid pace and concrete buildings multiply, the natural canals that used to facilitate water drainage are becoming unable to perform their function effectively. Consequently, residential areas are experiencing prolonged flooding.

In the initial three quarters of this year, community members across the city have made valuable contributions in terms of capital or land to enhance and extend a total of 88 streets.

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