Phu Quoc district authorities say the hot development on the island has put pressure on the water drainage system, causing severe flooding in mid-August.
A report submitted by the Phu Quoc district’s Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention, Search and Rescue to provincial authorities about the historic floods on the island showed that the cause was the weak water drainage system built in 2003.
But Phu Quoc has seen rapid development in recent years and is expected to develop into a special economic zone.
In the past, many natural ponds and lakes helped ease pressure on the drainage system when it rained heavily. But the lakes and ponds have been filled in, resulting in blockages in drainage systems caused by waste and sand.
The rapid urbanization and the rise of construction works within a short time have overloaded the drainage system, causing severe flooding in residential areas along rivers and streams.
|The rapid urbanization and the rise of construction works within a short time have overloaded the drainage system, causing severe flooding in residential areas along rivers and streams.|
Another cause mentioned in the report is the prolonged rains. On August 2-9, the total rainfall in the island hit 1,000 mm, while the average annual rainfall is 3,000 mm.
Phu Quoc district’s Party Committee’s secretary Mai Van Huynh also mentioned the bad water drainage system as the reason behind the flooding on the island.
He said Duong Dong Town once had only 10,000-12,000 residents, but now has 50,000 and receives a high number of tourists. Local residents, when seeking land to build houses, try to encroach on lakes, rivers and streams, thus blocking the water current.
Nguyen Huynh Trung, chief secretariat of the Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention, Search and Rescue, said the problem lies in the hot development of Phu Quoc.
“Some sections of coastal roads were inundated,caused by poor drainage. An Investigation is needed before a final decision is made, but it is necessary to reconsider the planning,” he said.
According to Nguyen Thi Tinh, chair of the Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Association, a member of a family which has been on the island for several generations, such severe floods had never occurred before.
She attributed the problem to forest exploitation. In the past, because of thick forests, rainwater could be retained on mountainsides, and not all of the rainwater flowed into streams and canals. Now, as many forests have been cleared, rains lead to flooding.
At the foot of the mountain, people encroach on streams to appropriate land. Construction works have arisen, blocking the current. As a result, water cannot flow to the sea.
It is estimated that a 7-day flood on Phu Quoc caused damages worth VND70 billion.
Highspeed boats to and from Phu Quoc Island will be suspended again due to strong wind and waves after resuming operation for only three days.
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is seeking more than 4.85 trillion VND (208.5 million USD) in investment for three new projects on the island of Phu Quoc.