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Red River flood diversion needs special treatment

Architect Dao Ngoc Nghiem, Vice President of the Vietnam Urban Development and Planning Association, talks on the need to grant a special policy for Hanoi on flood diversion on the Red River.

Red River flood diversion needs special treatment
Architect Dao Ngoc Nghiem. — Photo

When did the study planning the Hong (Red) River banks start?

The portion of the Red River that runs through Hanoi has a total length of about 130km. For ages, people have lived on both sides of the Red River. In the 1998 Hanoi’s master development plan, city authorities adopted a decision to develop the city along the banks of the Red River, in which the Red River would become an axis in the city’s course of urban development.

To implement the Prime Minister’s Decision 1259, in 2012, Hanoi authorities approved the planning design for areas along the two sides of the Red River. And in the last three years, the Hanoi Construction Planning Institute has developed a planning map for the development of the Red River. However, until now such an architectural design and other ideas on the development plan of the Red River banks remain on paper.

Why? What has caused the delay for the approval of the plan?

A very important requirement in the planning of the Red River banks is to develop an important axis space for Hanoi to ensure urban areas continue to develop, yet still make the best use of available land and protect Hanoi’s inner city from flooding.

However, the idea of developing the land outside of the river dyke must adhere to the Vietnamese 2006 Law on Dyke Management and the Government Decree 113 which was issued on June 28, 2007 on the master planning of dykes along the Red River and the Thai Binh River. However, until now Hanoi and Thai Binh authorities have not yet got their master plan on anti-flood ready for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to approve. That’s why the plan on zoning the Red River remains on paper.

Can you explain more about the development plan for the two sides of the Red River?

By now there are quite a few proposals on the planning of the Red River at different scopes and scales. For example, in 1996, a Singaporean investor came up with a proposal to develop a big and modern urban area in An Duong area which is located on one side of the Red River dyke. According to the Singaporean proposal, the area would be modelled on an urban area in Singapore. Then in 2005, American Indochina Land Corporation came up with a proposal to build a science hub in the An Duong area.

In 2004, another project which was named HAIDEP – a joint venture between Vietnam and Japan, also came up with a proposal to build cities along the banks of the Red River.

In 2006, Hanoi and Seoul authorities signed a mutual agreement on co-operation in the development of the River dyke portion which run through Hanoi.

In 2017, quite a few big Vietnamese economic groups, including Sun Group, Vingroup and Geleximco and others also came up with proposals to financially sponsor the planning study, particularly the harness of the Red River and the transportation activities along the Red River. Adding to that, Hanoi authorities have also adopted a plan to assign the Hanoi Institute of Construction and Planning to work with Sun Group, Vingroup and Geleximco to study developing urban areas along a portion of the Red River which runs through Hanoi.

What are the challenges in the development of the portion of the Red River which runs through Hanoi?

The biggest challenge is how to calculate the stability of the flood diversion and the dyke system for Hanoi. To do that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should develop a plan on the flood discharge for the Red River as well as the whole dyke system that runs through Hanoi.

Furthermore, Hanoi should adopt a detailed plan on the development of the banks of the Red River. And of course, to do that Hanoi should also adopt a preferential policy to turn ideas into life.  VNS

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Singaporean man sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Vietnam

A court in southern Vietnam on Friday handed a Singaporean man the death sentence for trafficking nearly ten kilograms of methamphetamine from Cambodia to Vietnam.

The People’s Court of Tay Ninh Province in southern Vietnam on Friday handed down the sentence to Cher Wei Hon, 40, on the charge of illegal drug trafficking.

In July last year, border guards inspected a ride-hail car that was carrying the foreign man on a National Highway 22 section near Moc Bai, an international border gate between Vietnam and Cambodia located in Tay Ninh Province.

As they scrutinized the man’s luggage, officers found ten plastic bags containing a white crystal, according to the indictment.

Cher confessed to the law enforcement officers that the bags contain methamphetamine, a white crystalline recreational drug that is illegal in Vietnam.

The man said he had known a Vietnamese woman, identified as Quynh, in the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh from whom he borrowed VND200 million (US$8,600) but was unable to pay back the debt.

Consequently, Quynh demanded the man carry mobile phones, iPads and drugs from Cambodia to Vietnam to write off his debt on a gradual basis.

With each successful shipment, she would slash the debt by US$500-1,000.

The man admitted he had trafficked drugs between the two countries around five times by the time of his arrest.

Late last month, the same court sentenced a 27-year-old Cambodian woman to death for trafficking around five kilograms of methamphetamine over the border from Cambodia.

If the shipment had been successful, she would have received $100.

Vietnam adopts a harsh stance against drug violators. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine could face capital punishment.

Manufacturing or selling from 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics are also punishable by death.

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Returnees from Da Nang can go to work after quarantine without COVID-19 testing: HCDC

Ho Chi Minh City residents who recently returned from the central city of Da Nang, Vietnam’s current COVID-19 outbreak epicenter, can get back to work after finishing the required 14-day quarantine regardless of their COVID-19 testing status, the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Diseases Control (HCDC) has said.

Those who have finished the government-mandated quarantine period and exhibit no disease symptoms are eligible to return to their offices, even if they have not been sampled for COVID-19 testing or have been sampled with results still pending, according to an HCDC announcement.

However, these people must strictly take preventive measures, including wearing a face mask when leaving their house or at work, not going to crowded places, not staying in close contact with other people, washing their hands regularly, and self-monitoring their health condition.

In addition, they must keep a detailed record of their whereabouts from the date of leaving Da Nang until their test results are available.

As of Friday afternoon, as many as 13,000 people in Ho Chi Minh City who had returned from Da Nang from July 1 have yet to be sampled for COVID-19 testing, while 3,000 samples have not been tested, HCDC reported.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has requested competent district-level agencies to finish sampling all the remaining returnees from Da Nang by Sunday, August 9, and release test results by August 11.

Currently, Ho Chi Minh City has 13 institutions, including eight hospitals, authorized by the Ministry of Health to perform the COVID-19 confirmation test.

Eight more hospitals are capable of conducting conclusive COVID-19 testing and pending health ministry authorization.

The southern metropolis has reported eight COVID-19 cases since July 25, when Vietnam’s first locally-transmitted infection after 99 days was detected in Da Nang.

The central city has since logged 235 infections and seven fatalities.

Nationwide, Vietnam has logged a total of 789 COVID-19 cases, of which 395 have made a full recovery and ten, with underlying conditions, have died.


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Vietnam PM says risk of COVID-19 community spread ‘very high’

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Friday warned of a “very high” risk of COVID-19 community transmission as he urged national determination, solidarity and responsibility over the next two weeks to stamp out the current outbreak.

The risk of the disease spreading widely in the community in Vietnam remains “very high” for at least the next two weeks, the prime minister said while presiding over a virtual meeting on COVID-19 response on Friday morning.

The number of community-transmitted cases in Vietnam has risen by 333 since July 25, when the detection of a 57-year-old male patient in the central city of Da Nang ended the country’s streak of 99 days with no local infection.

The government chief thus ordered authorities to take greater responsibility and more drastic efforts to contain the pandemic, especially in outbreak hotspots.

Greater determination, solidarity and responsibility from the “entire political system” is needed, he stressed.

Provincial and municipal leaders are permitted to decide on specific measures in order to promptly and effectively minimize infection rates while medical facilities must stay vigilant to prevent the emergence of new COVID-19 outbreaks.

Social distancing must be strictly implemented in all COVID-19 hotbeds and fast and precise testing is the key to contain the spread of the virus, Phuc emphasized.

Phuc also stressed the need to wear a face mask at public places and in big cities, manufacture ventilators, and stay prepared to set up field hospitals in such localities like Quang Nam Province and Da Nang, which are the hardest hit by the current COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam.

Speaking at Friday meeting, acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long reported that the number of people having installed the contact-tracing app Bluezone, which was domestically developed to track down people having close contact with COVID-19 patients, has shot up recently, especially in Da Nang, Quang Nam, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and northern Quang Ninh Province.

Over 8.5 million people have installed the app as of Thursday, August 6. The Ministry of Health said the app needs at least 50 million active users to have a meaningful impact on contact tracing.

Notably, 21 cases of people with direct and indirect contact with COVID-19 patients have been traced through the app, Long said.

Vietnam has recorded 789 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday morning, with 395 recoveries and ten deaths.

More than 166,000 people are quarantined nationwide at hospitals, accommodation facilities or at their homes.


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