Flooding, a constant worry for citizens
At the meeting on the mitigation of flood damage on April 4, HCM City announced the first positive numbers in 2011.
Flooding in city reduced strongly
Flooding has decreased by 68% in all locations since 2009. The threat damage from flooding has also fallen significantly. In 2011, the city experienced 284 floods, which lasted an average of one hour while 2009 had to bear 851 floods that lasted around 152 minutes. The reduction has been attributed to new infrastructure, such as canals, sewers and drainage systems.
Areas prone to flooding due to tides averaged only eight per year, compared to 32 in 2009. Only two areas in the city centre were flooded, as opposed to 32 in 2009.
Even when the heaviest rain combined with high tide of the season, there were only 16-24 flooded places across the city in 2011. A big reduction compared to 2010 with 44-88 flooded places.
Dr. Ho Long Phi, Deputy Head of the HCM City Flood Prevention Programme Management Centre said that the programme will not be reliable if it depends solely on construction to prevent floods.
“This type of system could lead to a severe flood like the one experienced in Bangkok. The most serious danger doesn't come from heavy rains or tides, but large storms. If a big storm occurred around the Saigon-Dong Nai river system during rainy season, the reservoirs would already be full, causing water to pour into the city.”
After looking into the reasons for the massive flood in Bangkok, he said that schemes to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters are more important.
Phi's recommendation is to develop the economy while keeping ecology in mind. Drainage corridors, he said, should be built for emergencies and to forecast floods.
During the meeting, Nguyen Phuoc Thao, Director of the Steering Committee for the Urban Flood Control Programme agreed, saying that although the number of floods has been reduced, there is still much room for improvement to the system.