Land subsidence to blame for flooding in Saigon?

November 08, 2013 | 15:26
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The Southern Weather Bureau cited heavy rains and rising river water as the main reasons for the flooding in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday, but a recent study suggests that subsidence of the land is actually to blame.

The sewage and dike systems in the city are thought to be affected during flood times by the subsidence issues.  

A study conducted by Dr. Le Xuan Thuyen of HCMC University of Natural Sciences showed that the most populous city of Vietnam is slowly sinking thanks to mass urbanization and the over-pumping of groundwater resources.

Local experts said the city descends 10mm per year on average. Specifically, some areas in district 6 are dropping from 5 to 20cm per year, An Lac ward in Binh Tan district is sinking 12cm per year,  and many areas in districts 7, 8, 9, 12 and Tan Phu, Binh Thanh, Thu Duc, Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon, and Nha Be are annually descending more than 15 mm.

The city is predicted to sink from 12 to 22cm by 2020, Thanh Nien Newspaper quoted HCMC’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment as saying.

Ho Long Phi, PhD, director of Center of Water Management and Climate Change (WACC), told Thanh Nien that many areas in the city are sinking from 1.5 to 3cm per year, about three times as quickly as sea levels.

The study, which has been conducted since 1996, also found that Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District has sunk 70 to 80cm over the last couple of years.

On November 7, heavy rainfall accompanied by high tides flooded many major streets and caused traffic jams in some places in the city. It seriously affected the lives of the citizens as residents in the affected areas struggled to drive through floodwaters to go to work or take their kids to school on time.

It was reported that Hoa Binh and Lac Long Quan streets in district 11 near the Tan Hoa – Lo Gom environmental project were under deep water and flooding caused many vehicles in this area to break down.

In District 7’s Tan Thuan Dong ward, many areas were submerged by knee to waist-deep floodwaters. In Thu Duc district, thousands of residents drove through the seriously flooded Kha Van Can Street to reach downtown for work. Many residents in Thu Duc said this is the worst flooding so far this year.

There was serious traffic congestion from Cay Go roundabout to Phu Lam roundabout on district 6’s Kinh Duong Vuong Street, the gateway to the Mekong Delta bus station.  It took about one or two hours for vehicles in this area to drive through the flooded streets to the bus station.

Streets that were seriously submerged included Tan Hoa, Kinh Duong Vuong, Tan Hoa Dong, and An Duong Vuong streets in District 6 and Binh Tan district, and Chu Van An, Dinh Bo Linh, and Bui Dinh Tuy in the Binh Thanh District.


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