|Heavy flood on Phan Huy Ích Street, Gò Vấp District after a heavy rain on May 20. VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Anh|
Lê Văn Khoa, vice chairman of the People’s Committee, said that illegal encroachment on rivers and canals was one of the main causes of serious flooding.
The filling of canals with rubbish and illegal building on waterway banks have slowed canal drainage, he said.
Khoa asked district authorities to work with agencies to strictly punish violators that damage the drainage systems in the city.
He urged district authorities to take serious measures to remove illegal structures and houses on canals to improve drainage and prevent flooding.
While waiting for the relocation, the city has urged districts to propose temporary solutions to tackle flooding during the rainy season and in the future.
In addition, the city has asked the Steering Centre of the Urban Flood Control Programme to step up inspections and work with districts to resolve any new encroachment site and report problems to the city People’s Committee.
The centre will provide advice and technical assistance for the districts’ temporary solutions to flooding.
The People’s Committee has also asked the Department of Transport and Department of Construction to direct inspectorates to assist the centre and districts in inspecting and removing construction near canals and other areas.
Flooding has become a critical issue in HCM City despite a large amount of money spent on the problem.
By the end of last year, the number of roads inundated by heavy rains and high tides had reached 59, up from 50 in 2010, 32 in 2011, 21 in 2012, and 50 in 2013, according to a report of the Steering Centre of the Urban Flood Control Programme.
Hoàng Minh Trí, deputy chief of the city’s Institute for Development Studies, attributes the problem to rapid urbanisation and mismanagement.
Recently, agencies discovered 87 positions where housing had encroached on canals. Violators were asked to fix problems at the other 58 positions.
Đỗ Tấn Long, head of the Steering Centre of the Urban Flood Control Programme’s Drainage System Management Division, said the chief causes of flooding were the outdated drainage system, which meets only half of demand, and illegal canal encroachment.
Statistics show that nearly 10,000 houses in District 8 and around 2,200 others in District 7 are encroaching on canals.
HCM City has set a target of removing nearly 20,000 makeshift homes along the city’s canals in the next five years. — VNS