December 29, 2023
HÒA BÌNH — More than five years after moving to a resettlement area, the lives of people in Bao Hamlet of Hòa Bình Province’s Đà Bắc District are still full of difficulties, as the basic infrastructure system has not yet been built.
The Tao Stream area in Giáp Đắt Commune is a residential area with more than 25 households, most of whom had to relocate from their former residences during the historic flood of the year 2017.
Torrential rain in October 2017 damaged many structures, property and people’s lives, including 25 households in Giáp Đắt Commune, in an area at high risk of landslides. Many houses were buried by landslides.
Đà Bắc District authorities urgently moved these households to the residential area in Tao Stream area of Bao Hamlet.
In the new location, there was no longer any fear of landslides, but since then, the resettlement area has not been provided with essential infrastructure to meet the people’s daily needs.
Therefore, the 25 households have continued to suffer from lack of clean water and electricity, and every day they have to travel on muddy and slippery roads.
Normally, the atmosphere here is quiet and lonely with no loudspeakers, televisions, or the sounds of children playing. Next to the dark houses without electricity, old people sit alone by the fire on the porch.
People say that because the dirt roads are muddy and difficult to travel and there is no electricity and no water, the people who stay in the reallocation area are middle-aged and elderly.
Young people found life too difficult so they have left. Everyone has to go to work far away, so young children have to be sent to the other villages to go to school.
Sa Thị Đầy is still haunted by the horrifying moment when floodwaters poured in, sweeping away her family’s house.
Being warned and rescued by neighbours, Đầy and her family were fortunate to escape the fierce flood.
“In the new place, my family no longer worries about natural disasters, but life is much more difficult,” Đầy said.
“There is no electricity or water. Roads are difficult, especially for children going to school. Life is so hard,” she said.
“We hope that authorities will pay more attention and invest so that we can have a stable life,” she said.
Similarly, Vì Thị Nhắm and her family moved to the resettlement area more than five years ago, but life is still difficult.
Nhắm said: “To get electricity, some households pool money to buy electric wires to bring electricity to their homes and share one electricity meter.”
“But because of the long distance and small electric cable, the electricity is only enough for lighting, not cooking rice or using other appliances,” Nhắm said.
“My house is near a stream; during the rainy season the water flows loudly right next to it. Recently, my family had to re-build the house’s foundation,” she said.
Most roads in the resettlement area are so narrow and slippery that access by motorbike is mostly impossible.
Xa Công Thức, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Giáp Đắt Commune, said that the Tao Stream area was previously a livestock and production farms of some households.
In 2017, after the historic flood, the commune chose this area to relocate households from the affected area which faced risks of landslides, Thức said.
However, this residential area has not yet been provided with essential infrastructure.
People have repeatedly petitioned the authorities to pay attention to and support the people so they can stabilise their lives, Thức said.
In 2019, storms and heavy rains continued to threaten the commune with many residential areas at high risk of landslides. Currently, 15 more households need to be relocated to new places.
The local government plans to continue moving households to Bao Hamlet to soon stabilise long-term housing.
Meanwhile, Nguyễn Thanh Tuấn, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Đà Bắc District, said the district has issued Official Dispatch 2231/UBND-VP to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the People’s Committee of Hòa Bình Province on reviewing and requesting funding from the central Government for stabilising the locals’ lives in 2024.
The district has submitted to the provincial People’s Committee for approval a project of life stabilisation with a total estimated investment of VNĐ14.5 billion (US$600,000), said Tuấn.
The project’s objective is to build infrastructure works in Bao Hamlet, including four basic items: levelling an area of about 1ha to form a residential cluster for 15 new households; building 1.5km of concrete roads; setting up about 2.5km of 0.4kW low voltage lines to supply electricity to households; and building two filter tanks, installing pipes to supply clean water to residential areas and building wastewater treatment system to ensure environmental hygiene so that the people can stabilise their lives and feel secure in developing their businesses. — VNS